Saturday, 23 June, 2018

IL severe bleeding outbreak linked to synthetic cannabinoids update

Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
Carol Daniels | 09 April, 2018, 04:42

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is warning people about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids, often called "fake weed", "K2" and "spice" amid reports of severe bleeding linked to two deaths in IL. "Symptoms may range from unexplained bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in the urine or stools, coughing up or vomiting blood, to bleeding in the brain", said Dr. Jenny Lu, toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at Stroger Hospital. Only two people have been known to have died from smoking synthetic weed, and many others have been sent to the hospital. Nine of those cases tested positive for brodifacoum, or rat poison.

The substance, brodifacoum, is an off-white, odorless powder poison, widely used to kill rodents that have become resistant to existing poisons. Cook County's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar said synthetic marijuana is unsafe enough.

The person's symptoms were similar to dozens of cases in the Chicago region in the last several weeks. It can cause severe bleeding, which can be fatal.

Until the exact origins of the contaminated products are determined, health officials fear more freakish cases of bleeding will continue to pile up.

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Dr. Wells says they haven't seen any cases in MI yet.

"This is the first time bleeding has ever been associated with synthetic cannabinoids", said Professor Paul L. Prather of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Arkansas. 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.

Health department data shows the majority of cases are in the Chicago area, as well as Peoria and Tazewell counties.

The statement described synthetic cannabinoids as "human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on to dried plant material". If they do, they should seek immediate medical treatment.

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