Police are investigating drug activity in the area of Brooklyn where the illnesses were centered, and attempting to locate any more victims and also drug dealers.
This incident in New York comes about a month after synthetic marijuana was linked to 153 people falling ill and the deaths of four people across Chicago and areas in central Illinois. The synthetic cannabinoids were found to contain rat poison and most of the hospitalizations were related to unexplained bleeding, such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, bloody nose and bleeding gums.
There was also a 2016 incident in Brooklyn where 33 people were hospitalized after overdosing on synthetic marijuana over an 11-hour period. Patients suffered respiratory problems and possible altered mental states, a fire department spokesman said at the time.
Synthetic cannabinoids, or fake weed, are human-made chemicals that can be sprinkled on dried, shredded plant material and smoked, or can be consumed as vaporized liquids inhaled through an e-cigarette or other device.
One study of a synthetic cannabinoid found that it was 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana. That study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016.