Synthetic marijuana, sold around the city as “incense” and “potpourri,” has been banned by the city department of health, the Bed-Stuy Patch reports. The stuff has been linked to an uptick in calls to poison control for side effects including “increased heart rate, hypertension, seizure, loss of consciousness as well as acute renal failure and death.” Four such calls were made in 2010, compared to 71 in 2011; there have been 44 already this year.
“Synthetic cannabinoids are not marijuana,” the head of the city’s poison control center told the Patch. “They are unique drugs made in a lab that have one effect in common with marijuana but potentially many other different effects. They are sold as herbal products, giving users a perception of safety, but in fact they are toxic drugs sprayed on plant leaves.”
The Brooklyn Paper reported on the stuff a few months ago, when it was still legal. “I felt way, way too high, my entire body and insides hurt, and I couldn’t breathe,” one user said. “I started getting too hot and took off my shirt and my tank top even though it was freezing out.” Another reported that “his vision blurred, his memory lapsed and ‘everything was glistening,’ while his girlfriend suffered a panic attack.”