NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) -
Tax accountant opens shop in NYC bar
Stunt explosion mistaken for real thing
Man accused of throwing gator through drive-thru window
Mom hits back at trolls who turned disabled son's photo into Internet meme
Synthetic marijuana is also known as spice or K2. Even though it's sold in many local bodegas, delis and gas stations, it's illegal under federal law. Some of the side effects associated with synthetic marijuana are really nasty: elevated blood pressure, hallucinations and in some cases death.
James Hunt is the special agent in charge of the DEA in New York.
"What it really is, is a man-made chemical that is sprayed on a benin plant, basically a weed, so people can smoke it," Hunt says.
Recently it has made headlines in the sports world because just last month, according to the Boston Globe, New England Patriots star defensive end Chandler Jones sought medical attention after allegedly using synthetic marijuana.
And according to a police report recently made public, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derek Coleman told police he used synthetic marijuana before being involved in a hit-and-run accident last fall.
So why would an NFL player -- with so much at stake -- risk taking these dangerous drugs?
Chris Canty, who won a Super Bowl with the giants and is currently a member of the Baltimore Ravens, has a theory.
"I think guys gravitate to synthetic marijuana are the guys that have a positive street drugs tests with the NFL and so they are trying to avoid another postive test, avoid suspension, avoid a possible fine by using something as a substitute to give them that high," Canty says.
Dr. Harris Stratyner is an addictive behavioral psychologist at the Caron Treatment Center. He agrees with Canty.
"(They use it) to catch a high and not be affected by drug tested," Stratyner says.
And that's just it. Because the chemicals on these drugs are ever changing, they are so hard to effectively test for. That makes appealing not only to pro athletes looking to mimic some of the effects of marijuana and beat potential drug test but anyone looking to get high and in all likely hood effectively pass a drug test.
Rich Carlson, 24, was a star lacrosse player at Suffolk County Community College and now works at the Dynamite Youth Center in Coney Island. He told us why he first tried synthetic marijuana.
"We made it to the conference championship game when I was a freshman we were told that we were going to be drug tested before we played and we decided to some synthetic marijuana before the game," Carlson says.
And because people have no idea what they're ingesting, the DEA emphasized to us that the consequences of using synthetic marijuana can be deadly.