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Health Department: Synthetic cannabinoids blamed for bleeding death

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K2 spice marijuana mind trip

Dried plants dosed with psychoactive chemicals is marketed as K2 or spice.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is blaming synthetic cannabinoids for a string of severe bleeding cases that have resulted in one death so far.

There have been 38 reports of people in the Chicago and central Illinois area who have experienced severe effects after using the synthetic drug, which is often called Spice, K2, or fake weed. The symptoms have included patients coughing up blood, blood in the urine, a severe bloody nose, or bleeding gums. 

Three of the cases have tested positive for rat poison.

“Synthetic cannabinoids are unsafe.  They can contain a variety of chemicals, and users often don’t know what those are, such as rat poison,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are a safe alternative to marijuana, they can cause very severe illness.”

According to a statement released by the IDPH, synthetic cannabinoids are human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on dried plant material.  They can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes and other devices.  These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant.  The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, harmful, and deadly.

Anyone who experiences a severe reaction should call 911 immediately.

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