Synthetic weed warning: Drug can cause "very severe bleeding," Illinois health officials say
02 April, 2018, 00:47
Consumption of synthetic cannabinoids previously has caused serious health problems such as seizures and kidney failure, but the side effect of severe bleeding is tied to the recent outbreak, said Dr. Patrick Lank, a medical toxicologist who works at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. There were 10 cases reported in Chicago and four others in Cook County, according to the department of health. On Friday, officials clarified that while this can happen, those affected in IL have reported other symptoms, like coughing up blood, blood in urine, bloody noses, bleeding gums and, for women, heavier than usual menstrual flow. "Very severe bleeding that's prompting them to go to the emergency room".
IL health officials say one person has died after experiencing severe bleeding following the use of synthetic cannabinoids. They are also sold on the street, she said, and those experiencing the bleeding said they obtained the products in convenience stores and from dealers and friends.
The drug can be smoked or sold as a liquid which can be vaporized in e-cigarettes.
Millewich added that a change in the formula used in the drug could be behind the bleeding, but because health officials don't know the exact makeup of the products, exactly what's causing the bleeding is unclear.
It's sometimes called Spice, K2 or fake weed and contains a chemical used in rat poison.
If a person was hospitalized, they could get Vitamin K through an IV, which would work faster on the body, Lank said.
The man-made substance is a mixture of hundreds of chemicals, often called cannabinoids because they affect the same brain cell receptors as the main ingredient in marijuana.
Shah says they're unsafe because it's hard to know what chemicals they contain or what an individual's reaction will be.
This photo provided Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 by New York Police Department shows packets of synthetic marijuana seized after a search warrant was served at a newsstand in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Anyone with a negative reaction should call 911 immediately.
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