IDPH: Peoria man dead, rat poison chemical found in synthetic marijuana

Credit Scharls  Creative Commons

Credit Scharls Creative Commons

The fake weed problem in IL only worsens.

Two deaths and 54 other cases of severe bleeding in cases across Chicago and in central IL have been tied to synthetic cannabinoids - often called Spice, K2 or fake weed.

Synthetic marijuana, more commonly called by its aforementioned colloquial terms, has been found to be highly unsafe.

The numbers of those affected by the fake marijuana are reportedly increasing as officials noted that more and more people are being taken to the hospital with symptoms such as "coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums", the health department said in a statement.

That's almost triple the number reported last week when IL health officials first warned of the new side effect of the drug known as "fake weed", "K2" and "spice". Both are men in their 20's from Peoria and Chicago.

This poison was present in at least three individuals who had symptoms of severe bleeding and reported using synthetic cannabinoids, the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement. To ready area pharmacies, health officials warned Chicago stores that patients might fill prescriptions for high doses of Vitamin K, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Now, state officials are working to identify any commonalities between the cases and determine where the products were obtained.

There's not much information about the synthetic marijuana death, and Arnold said there won't be in order to protect the victim's identity.

"We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids", Shah added.

Many questions about the unfortunate outbreak still loom large. The chemicals are called cannabinoids, IDPH says, because the are similar to chemicals found in marijuana. Melanie Arnold with IDPH said they've found a chemical used in rat poison in some of the victims. The men, 48-year-old Fouad Masoud, 44-year-old Jamil Jad Allah and 44-year-old Adil Mohammed, were arrested on Sunday and charged with federal drug offenses for conspiring to sell synthetic marijuana, known as K2, at King Mini Mart in the 1300-block of South Kedzie Avenue.

They're typically sprayed on dry plants, which are then smoked.

The health effects of using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, unsafe and possibly life-threatening because it's hard to know what's in them or how a person will be react to them.

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