nsucurrent.com April 24, 2018

Synthetic cannabinoids usage linked several bleeding issues

02 April 2018, 12:45 | Violet Powell

Doctors Don't Know Why This Synthetic Pot Is Making People's Eyes Bleed

Emergency departments seeing a rise in patients poisoned by a new wave of ultra-potent synthetic recreational drugs are being invited to join a nationwide screening effort

Eight people in Chicago and 32 people in IL have suffered severe bleeding, some of whom are in the ICU with threatening illness, after reporting using synthetic cannabinoids.

Synthetic cannabinoids are commonly referred to as "K2", "Spice," or "Black Mamba".

Cara Smith, spokeswoman for the Cook County sheriff's office, said in an email that the office was working with state officials to get more information about the origin of the synthetic pot contributing to the outbreak.

Healthcare providers, schools and health departments encountering unusual cases of bleeding in individuals should inquire about potential exposures to synthetic marijuana.

"They're certainly not safe, and in many cases they're actually banned". Each of those cases has required hospital visits with symptoms like coughing up blood, blood in urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums. "It is hard to know what's in them or what your reaction to them will be". These substances act on brain receptors and alter our perception of pain and feelings of anxiety.

According to the IDPH, synthetic cannabinoids are human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on dried plant material.

Unsafe and often unknown chemicals in fake weed commonly sold in convenience stores can lead to numerous health problems.

The agency warns that authorities have not traced the source of the contamination, and affected users have reported obtaining their synthetic cannabinoids from friends, dealers and even convenience stores.

Synthetic cannabinoids fall into a category of drugs called new psychoactive substances, which are unregulated mind-altering substances that are newly available on the market and meant to cause the same effects as illegal drugs, according to IDPH.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found there's also an association between teens who use synthetic pot and a heightened risk for violent behavior, risky sex and abuse of other drugs.

IL health officials are advising anyone experiencing unexplained bleeding after using synthetic pot to go to the nearest emergency room. The products are also sometimes referred to as herbal or liquid incense.

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