Second Death Due to Synthetic Cannabinoids

Credit Scharle  Creative Commons

The two victims were both male and in their 20s, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Affected individuals experienced coughing up blood, blood in the urine, bloody noses, and other symptoms, reported the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Health officials warn that anyone who has a reaction to synthetic cannabinoids immediately should call 911 or be taken to an emergency department.

No information about the patient's name, age or gender, or the county where the death occurred, had been provided as of Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"This is the first time we've seen an outbreak of this magnitude in the area", said IDPH spokesperson Melaney Arnold, adding that the state's health department is collaborating with different partners across the city and state as it looks into the outbreak.

Health officials in IL are warning people about mock marijuana that is spreading across Chicago and the central part of the state, causing severe bleeding among users and, in some cases, death.

'Because these products are not regulated, it's hard to know the chemical make-up, source and distribution'.

The IDPH has warned that anyone experiencing bleeding or bruising after using synthetic cannabis should seek treatment right away.

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The substance, synthetic cannabinoids-known to many as "spice" or "K2"-can be bought at gas stations, smoke shops, and online". There have been 56 cases in the state, including 17 in Chicago and five in Cook County.

In November 2016, about 300 people in St. Louis were hospitalized from overdoses of synthetic versions of THC.

Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.

The man-made "alternative to marijuana" is a chemical sprayed on dried plant material, then smoked or sold as liquid to be vaporized on e-cigarettes or other devices. The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, harmful, and deadly.

One study of a synthetic cannabinoid found that it was 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana.

"They include things like seizures, heart attack, kidney failure", said Lank, who was not involved in treating the recent synthetic cannabinoid cases.

"We hope that anyone that's a legitimate business ... will say we aren't going to sell this stuff", Gengler said.

"Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS)".

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