The city's Department of Health and Governor Cuomo issued a health alert this week warning of the dangers of synthetic marijuana, noting that 160 New Yorkers who smoked a synthetic cannabinoid have been hospitalized since early April.
The drug, dubbed "spice" or "K2," is a mixture of herbs meant to mimic the effects of marijuana, and the Health Department says it's often marketed as “incense” or “potpourri.” But while there's little-to-no chance smoking regular marijuana will send you to the hospital, health officials say the synthetic stuff is sprayed with chemicals that can get people sick, and Albany banned synthetic marijuana in 2012.
"Despite what the package might say, there’s no way of knowing exactly what synthetic marijuana contains,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement yesterday. “The consequences of using synthetic marijuana are unpredictable and I urge people not to use these dangerous and illegal drugs." Bassett noted that 120 New Yorkers were hospitalized after smoking synthetic marijuana between April 8th and April 15th alone, and that the majority of cases were in East Harlem.
The DOH has warned of the dangers of synthetic marijuana before, and over the summer the department issued another health alert, noting that 15 people had been hospitalized in Harlem and Chelsea in a one week period. According to the DOH, troubling side effects include seizures and hallucinations.
We smoked fake weed in 2012. It was not great.