Health Dept. Warns Against 'Synthetic Pot' Following Deaths, Rise in Illness

The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued new health warnings with cases of users experiencing bleeding from virtually every body opening due to a Vitamin K dependent coagulopathy

First Maryland case of bleeding from synthetic marijuana reported

IL authorities said Friday they are looking at possibly a third death in the last few weeks linked to synthetic marijuana.

"We continue to see the number of cases rise", IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement on April 2nd. "Hospitals can treat these patients, so if they seek medical attention soon enough they can get treatment", said Dr. Arunkumar. She added that people may have symptoms such as unexplained bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in the urine or stool, coughing up or vomiting blood, and bleeding in the brain.

"K2 is one name, spice is another term, some people call this synthetic pot, synthetic marijuana, because they think it's a legal form of marijuana", Wells explained. According to the MDHHS, the deaths and severe and persistent bleeding are caused by the chemical brodifacoum, an off-white and odorless poison, a pesticide commonly used to kill rats. Lu says that brodifacoum poisoning effects can last weeks to months. "Even without symptoms, the blood's ability to clot is severely impaired and risk of bleeding is high".

Dr. Wells says they haven't seen any cases in MI yet. To make Spice, manufacturers spray mind-altering and often toxic chemicals on inert plant material.

The Department of Health Services says the so-called "fake weed" is unsafe and health effects from using these products can be life-threatening. Other interventions may be necessary depending on the severity of the poisoning.

More than 80 percent of the cases have been reported from Chicago and Peoria and Tazewell Counties.

Some people who are required to undergo routine drug testing use synthetic marijuana to get high because its components are often hard to detect on tests. The ingredients are banned in IL but manufacturers try to get around these laws by using different ingredients or using the label "not for human consumption".

In Michigan, health officials issued a warning for the people nowadays, urging vigilance. The person's current medical status was not immediately disclosed.

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