Synthetic marijuana is extremely lucrative for shops, who market it illegally, said Cara Smith, primary policy officer with the Cook County Agency's off ice. "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.
IL authorities said Friday they are looking at possibly a third death in the last few weeks linked to synthetic marijuana.
Two deaths have been reported from dozens of cases of severe bleeding tied to fake weed in IL, and health officials say the symptoms in the Maryland case are similar to those in IL.
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Autopsies last month of two others indicated severe bleeding and the presence of brodifacoum, an ingredient found in rat poison, in synthetic marijuana they had used.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and Lake County Health Department issued a joint statement Friday "urging people to not use synthetic cannabinoids, often called Spice, K2, or fake weed". Synthetic cannabinoid products are unsafe, and the health effects from using them can be unpredictable, harmful, and even life threatening. Officials said there has been one confirmed case in Wisconsin.
Synthetic cannabis is a man-made chemical compound created to act on the cannabinoid receptors and is sprayed onto plant material to mimic the real thing. Other interventions may be necessary depending on the severity of the poisoning.
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The head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that while there hasn't been a known case in Michigan, the fact that a neighboring state has had them is concerning.
"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. The person's current medical status was not immediately disclosed.
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