Illinois Medical Cannabis Industry Reacts to Synthetic Marijuana Deaths

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NY officials issued the warning Monday, reported the Associated Press, alerting medics that severe bleeding in patients with no clear injury who have used synthetic cannabis known as K2 or Spice could be linked to consumption of the drug.

The IDPH says the total number of people who've been treated for severe bleeding from the eyes, ears and lungs after using the drug is up to 107. Two of the men who died were in their 20s and the third man was in his 40s. The users were hospitalized - and two of them died - after coughing up blood, finding blood in their urine or bleeding from their noses or gums, officials said. Numerous people who reported being sick after using synthetic pot later tested positive for brodifacoum, a poison commonly used in rodent control.

The number was 56 cases a week ago. The synthetic cannabinoids are not regulated. Because of this similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called "synthetic marijuana" (or "fake weed"), and they are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug. The CDC also recommends providers report suspected cases associated with synthetic marijuana to their local health department.


The New York State Department of Health has issued a statewide health advisory about the risk, although it says no cases have been reported in New York to date. Public health investigation indicates that synthetic cannabinoids were likely contaminated with brodifacoum. They may be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and are found in convenience stories, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores and online.

In the 1980s, synthetic cannabinoids were considered research compounds but they are now produced overseas, according to the CDC. These packets typically consist of plant material coated by chemicals, which are supposed to mimic the effects of naturally grown marijuana.

Anyone showing symptoms needs immediate medical attention but should call for assistance or have someone take them to a hospital emergency room.

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