On Friday, April 12, 2019, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans for the state to strengthen efforts around stopping sales and distribution of synthetic CBD in stores throughout the state. The initiative is also focused on working with medical and mental health professionals regarding how to treat patients who are experiencing adverse side effects using the synthetic compounds, which mimic the effects of CBD but are made using different components. The state also plans to crack down on unlicensed production facilities within the state. Synthetic CBD, sold under brand names such as K2, is widely available and there is very little consistency from brand-to-brand in terms of the formula contents.
Synthetic cannabinoids, similar to full-spectrum CBD derived from cannabis, works because it binds the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain. However, synthetic CBC has potentially poor side-effects for people who use it, including agitation, racing heart, and nausea. In 2015, the CDC released a report on the rise of these symptoms in connection to the use of synthetic CBD. Other studies have pointed out that contaminants were found in CBD vaping liquids.
On the other hand, not all synthetic cannabinoids are the same in terms of quality or potential safety issues. The FDA has already approved two drugs that use synthetic cannabinoids, so there is a lot of room for confusion among consumers around what is safe or not.
All of this points to a great need for standardization and education around CBD products, which have widely proliferated throughout the United States upon the passage of the Farm Bill.