New Yorkers are getting increasingly sick from smoking packets of synthetic marijuana, which are still readily available in bodegas and head shops despite being banned two years ago. According to a DOH release, fifteen people have been hospitalized with "severe adverse reactions" to the product since Thursday, and ER visits related to fake weed are up 220% in 2014.
The recent hospitalizations occurred in Harlem and Chelsea.
“K2, Spice, Green Giant—no matter what you call it, synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous and illegal,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a release. “I urge people not to use these products, which have caused a huge spike in emergency room visits this year.”
Because the active ingredients are essentially an unknown, ever-changing chemical soup, there is no antidote. Symptoms include seizures and hallucinations, though symptoms usually do not last longer than 1-2 hours.
We smoked synthetic marijuana in 2012 and lived to regret it.