Patients who were hospitalized suffered from symptoms that included coughing up blood, bleeding from the ears, eyes, and nose, bleeding gums, and blood in urine.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health said that two people have died after ingesting synthetic marijuana, according to the Associated Press. The announcement was made in a press release on Saturday.
The person died after suffering from severe bleeding resulting from ingesting the fake marijuana known as Spice or K2. The Illinois Department of Public Health had made an announcement a few days earlier warning that 38 people in the Chicago area and statewide had been hospitalized after taking synthetic marijuana. The number was up to 54 cases as of Monday.
Patients who were hospitalized suffered from symptoms that included coughing up blood, bleeding from the ears, eyes, and nose, bleeding gums, and blood in urine. Emergency-room physician at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Dr. Patrick Lank says that other symptoms he has seen with synthetic marijuana include seizures, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the number of poisonings from synthetic marijuana had a sharp increase between 2010 and 2015, with more than 456 patients being treated for synthetic marijuana intoxication.
At least 3 of the patients in Illinois have tested positive for a substance used as rat poison called brodifacoum. The state health department is tracking where the 38 individuals were able to get the synthetic marijuana. Several locations where people have gotten synthetic marijuana reported to officials include gas stations, convenience stores, and online.
The director of the health department Dr. Nirav Shah said in the statement that he expects the death toll to rise as the health department continues with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify which products and locations the patients have in common. He added that more information is needed to find out how much contaminated synthetic marijuana products are circulating. “We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids," he said.