Did Mr. Nice Guy's Relaxinol Synthetic Pot Kill Aaron Stinson?
Last September, 26-year-old Aaron Stinson sat around a friend's apartment in upstate New York drinking some beer and smoking Relaxinol, a brand of so-called "herbal incense." Manufacturers would usually stamp warning labels on these products to indicate that they were "not for human consumption," but users knew that smoking them resulted in a high because they were soaked with synthetic cannabinoids -- man-made chemicals designed to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana.
The next morning, friends found Stinson's cold, pale corpse. The first autopsy only turned up caffeine and a small amount of alcohol -- 0.06 percent, not even enough to be legally intoxicated under New York law. Then investigators learned that Stinson had been smoking Relaxinol. The next round of toxicology tests showed two synthetic cannabinoids in his blood: JWH-122 and JWH-210.
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