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Health Canada Warns Of Synthetic Marijuana Risks

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Health Canada has issued a public warning about the risks associated with herbal incense that may give a high similar to marijuana, following a CBC News investigation into the substances.

The investigation found that the herbal incense products, which are available in stores from St. John's to Vancouver, contain explicit health warnings that they are not for human consumption.

However, undercover reporters have found stores where staff suggested the incense is meant to be smoked.

In a statement issued Wednesday, a day after results from the CBC News investigation were made public, Health Canada warned consumers about the risk associated with those products.

"These products are often marketed as 'smokeable herbal incense,' 'exotic herbal incense,' 'legal highs' or as alternatives to marijuana, and are believed to be smoked by consumers for their cannabis-like effects, despite the fact that they are often labelled as 'not for human consumption,'" the statement read in part.

The agency says smoking synthetic cannabinoids can result in symptoms that range from seizures to hallucinations to acute psychosis.

The incense products are sold in foil packages at prices ranging from $12 to $16 a gram and go under brand names like Happy Shaman, K2 Grape Xtreme, Project 420, Fusion Atomic Green and Kick Ass White Rabbit.

Similar products in the United States have faced legislative action, with the vast majority of states taking action to ban them.

CORRECTION: A front page headline on this story incorrectly suggested Health Canada had issued a warning about pot. The warning, as the story indicates, is about a marijuana-like incense.

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