Scary news out of Illinois: there has been at least one death and multiple hospitalizations linked to synthetic marijuana use.
According to state health officials, users experienced severe bleeding. By Saturday, public health officials said 38 people had been hospitalized in the Chicago area and central Illinois; however, they will not release where exactly the fatal overdose occurred, or any details about the user.
That not-pot, as it were, often goes by the name spice or K2. Its chemicals target the same brain receptors as weed, and it’s usually vaped or sprayed onto whatever the user is smoking. The problem is there’s no real telling what’s in the stuff. However, three of those hospitalized in the outbreak tested positive for rat poison, so it’s safe to speculate the ingredients aren’t exactly kosher. Rat poison, aka brodifacoum, blocks the body’s use of vitamin K, which aids in clotting.
Despite a statewide ban on certain formulations of the product, a spokeswoman for the public health department explained that manufacturers might tweak the recipe just enough to get it sold, but that doesn’t make it safe. In the Illinois outbreak, all of those hospitalized were experiencing some kind of bleeding (definitely skip to the next paragraph if you’re eating), like coughing up blood, bleeding gums, or blood coming from their eyes and ears. “Most of what we are seeing is spontaneous bleeding of the gums or nose, in the stool and urine,” said Dr. Patrick Lank, a medical toxicologist who works at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.