Synthetic Marijuana

New York State has recently experienced a dramatic increase in emergency department visits and poison control center calls from adverse health effects due to synthetic marijuana. Far too many people continue to fall victim to synthetic marijuana and we must do all we can to get these drugs off of New York's streets.

The Department of Health has developed new regulations to strengthen our ability to fight back against the individuals who are producing and selling these dangerous substances by expanding the list of banned chemical compounds.

Synthetic cannabinoids are marketed as legal and typically consist of plant material coated by chemicals, which are supposed to mimic THC, the active chemical compound in marijuana. The drugs are marketed as incense, herbal mixtures, or potpourri in order to mask their true purpose. Street names for substances include Spice, K2, Green Giant, Smacked, Wicked X, AK-47, Geeked Up, Ninja, Caution, Red Giant, and Keisha Kole, XXX Ultra, Skunk, Atomic and many more.

image of Synthetic Marijuana packaging

Users of the synthetic mixtures can never be certain in which ways the drugs will harm them, but users have experienced symptoms that include renal failure, arrested heart rate, high blood pressure, loss of consciousness, violent behavior, nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, agitation, anxiety, and even death. These effects can be similar to those of phencyclidine, or PCP.

The new regulations passed by DOH will help combat the sale of synthetic cannabinoids in New York State. The tougher regulations expand the existing list of banned substances to include new chemical compounds that drug producers have been making since Governor Cuomo first targeted so-called synthetic marijuana in 2012.