After the scary effects of synthetic marijuana were put on full display in New York City around the middle of 2016, a group of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco discovered the exact culprit.
In a report based on the mass casualty case last summer in Brooklyn, the synthetic cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA was identified as the chemical that led to overdose and death. The report, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, based the findings on blood and urine samples from victims of the apparent zombie apocalypse in New York City during that time. The compound is said to be 85 times stronger than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that naturally occurs in cannabis plants.
Report co-author and University of California, San Francisco clinical chemist Roy Gerona explained that the rise in the use of synthetic marijuana may be caused by its nomenclature. "There is this false idea out there that these drugs are safe because no one overdoses on marijuana," Gerona said in a news article.
AMB-FUBINACA now joins the ranks of K2 and Spice in the notorious class of synthetic drug variants that cause heightened health risks in people. The compound was developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which abandoned the drug without pursuing human trials.