New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Nirav R. Shah issued an order of summary action Thursday banning the sale of synthetic marijuana products.
The substances, generally referred to as synthetic marijuana, consist of plant material coated by chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The products are being sold as a so-called legal alternative to marijuana in convenience stores, smoke shops and tobacco stores, Shah said.
The New York state order said: "Synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to severe adverse reactions, including death and acute renal failure, and commonly cause: tachycardia or increased heart rate; paranoid behavior, agitation and irritability; nausea and vomiting; confusion; drowsiness; headache; hypertension; electrolyte abnormalities; seizures; and syncope, or loss of consciousness."
The commissioner's order called for sales and distribution of the products to cease immediately and called for local health officials to distribute the order and check for compliance.
The commissioner last week sent special health alerts to local health departments, emergency departments and other healthcare providers to make them aware of the dangers of the products, Shah said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]