Threatening bleeding linked to synthetic marijuana; 3 patients dead

Wayne CurryApr 11, 2018

NY officials issued the warning Monday, reported the Associated Press, alerting medics that severe bleeding in patients with no clear injury who have used synthetic cannabis known as K2 or Spice could be linked to consumption of the drug.

It said possible symptoms from using the drugs are coughing up blood, blood in urine, severe bloody noses and bleeding gums. State health officials are urging hospitals, urgent care centers and ER docs to be on the lookout for patients bleeding as a result of synthetic marijuana mixed with rat poison.

"Each day we've seen the number of cases rise", IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, said in the release. "However, synthetic cannabinoids are unregulated and identifying a source or sources is hard". "They are not regulated, and people don't know what chemicals may be in them, like rat poison", he said in a statement.

Although arrests have been made in response to these recent cases, arrests for sold synthetic cannabinoids that test for being illegal usually occur after someone is already hurt.

A 22-year-old man from Chicago died at an Oak Lawn hotel after using synthetic marijuana, according to the Oak Lawn Police Department (OLPD).

It noted that there have been numerous instances of severe bleeding in IL, three resulting in deaths. Synthetic cannabinoids can be bought across the United States in convenience stores, drug paraphernalia shops, and novelty stores, as well as at gas stations and online.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "This disturbing outbreak proves yet again the dangers of using synthetic marijuana".

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OLPD said anyone who has used synthetic marijuana should seek medical attention, as it can take days or weeks for symptoms to appear.

"These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant".

Many synthetic cannabinoids are addictive, according to the CDC, and people who suddenly stop using them have reported adverse effects of withdrawal, including headaches, severe anxiety, and vomiting.

In the 1980s, synthetic cannabinoids were considered research compounds but they are now produced overseas, according to the CDC.

Federal officials say the synthetic cannabinoids were packaged in sealed containers and labeled with such names as "Matrix", "Blue Giant" and "Crazy Monkey".

Anyone who has a reaction was told to call 911 or go to the emergency room, officials said.

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