Zombie Apocalypse? 'Gold' Synthetic Marijuana Causes Zombie-Like Effect, 85 Times Worse Than Cannabis

First Posted: Dec 17, 2016 02:48 AM EST

When more than 30 people overdosed simultaneously and collapsed on a Brooklyn sidewalk over an 11-hour period on July 12, it was believed they consumed the same batch of K2 sold at a Brooklyn store. However, a new analysis shows that they consumed a synthetic cannabinoid sold in shiny packages. The fake pot causes zombie-like effects and is 85 times more potent than marijuana.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the analysis confirmed suspicions and revealed that the fake pot is the culprit in the mass overdose that turned a city block into "Zombieland."

Fake Pot

To learn the cause of the "zombie outbreak," the researchers at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, needed samples. They got hold of a shiny package found at the scene along with blood and urine samples from eight patients.

The fake pot contained 16 milligrams of Amb-fubinaca per gram of smokable mixture. Even a slight miscalculation could mean devastation for the users. They found that the synthetic marijuana is 85 times more potent than cannabis and 50 times more potent that K2 or synthetic marijuana.

What Is Amb-Fubinaca?

Amb-fubinaca or AK-47 24 Karat Gold, the synthetic marijuana, was originally developed and patented by Pfizer Inc. in 2009. The pharmaceutical company confirmed that it never moved forward with the drug but the public patent appears to have triggered its development in foreign labs.

"Years ago we investigated a class of compounds for potential therapeutic value in treating cancer pain and inflammatory pain. Our work in this area was confined to the lab, never tested in patients, and eventually discontinued," Pfizer told MarketWatch.

The people who were rushed to the hospital passed out, vomited, urinated and twitched on the road. "This one from New York was atypical," Roy Gerona, co-author of the study, said as reported by CNN.

"Primarily for potent synthetic cannabinoids, you would typically have cardiotoxicity; you would have seizures; sometimes you would have acute kidney injury -- but this one did not have all that. It was just a severe depressant effect," he added.

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