State health officials warn about synthetic pot; severe bleeding, deaths reported

Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

How did a risky chemical like brodifacoum, which does not create a sensation of being high, end up in synthetic marijuana? It can cause severe bleeding, which can be fatal.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is alerting health care providers and Michigan residents about numerous cases of individuals in IL suffering from persistent and severe bleeding due to the suspected use of synthetic marijuana containing brodifacoum.

Some people who are required to undergo routine drug testing use synthetic marijuana to get high because its components are often hard to detect on tests. Public health officials say the product is not safe and if anyone has purchased it they shouldn't use it. "Treatment includes a form of vitamin K, which can only be prescribed by a physician or given in the hospital and complete treatment of this poisoning involves taking high doses of this pharmaceutical grade vitamin K daily for weeks to months".

The anticoagulant brodifacoum was discovered during the investigation into his death, the medical examiner's office said.

The medical examiner's office said it was investigating a second death that involved similar bleeding symptoms, but did not provide further details about the case. "Even without symptoms, the blood's ability to clot is severely impaired and risk of bleeding is high", said Dr. Jenny Lu, a toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at Stroger Hospital. This poisoning is unique in that its effects can last weeks to months.

But officials here said they still have unanswered, vexing questions: How much of the tainted drug is still circulating throughout the Midwest, and how many more people will be sickened?

Synthetic marijuana, also known as fake weed, is sold for recreational use under the names K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Genie and Zohai, among others. Truck drivers who are delivering bags of chips and sodas to gas stations and bodegas are frequently paid to distribute the drug, she said; customers pay about $10 for a 5-gram package.

It's a man-made, mind-altering chemical which is either sprayed on dried shredded plant material to be smoked, or sold as a liquid to be vaporized and inhaled.

Synthetic cannabinoids are not one drug.

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