Use of Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Severe Bleeding in the US

Will County Health Department warns about synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic marijuana is marketed as legal and sold in colorful packets with street names such as K2, Spice and AK-47.

IL public health officials say the number of people in IL who have experienced severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana has increased to 95 cases.

Those who have become sick have reported coughing up blood, blood in urine, severe bloody noses, bleeding gums and internal bleeding. A number of the 107 people who experienced bleeding tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often found in rat poison.

Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka has had two patients with bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids since Friday and both were treated and released, spokesman Eric Alvin said. "They are not regulated and people don't know what chemicals may be in them, like rat poison". "While efforts are under way to get contaminated drugs out of circulation, it's possible they could re-emerge". 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.

It noted that there have been numerous instances of severe bleeding in IL, three resulting in deaths.

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"As bleeding can be life-threatening", she continued, "it is important that people who have used synthetic marijuana seek medical attention at the first sign of poisoning so we can begin treatment right away".

Officials say the chemicals can be "unpredictable, harmful and deadly". In fact, they are not safe and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more unsafe or even life-threatening.

Synthetic cannabinoids are classified as a controlled substance and their possession can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the amount possessed.

"Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS)".

HEALTH- Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a bleeding outbreak advisory regarding synthetic marijuana.

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