A third person has died due to tainted synthetic marijuana, as the drug continues to infiltrate central Illinois. State officials also announced Monday that synthetic cannabis has affected more than 100 people with sickness, including symptoms of severe bleeding.
The Illinois Department of Public Health identified the latest victim as a man in his 40s from central Illinois. Two other individuals have died from the drug, including a 22-year-old Chicago man.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 107 people have been hospitalized due to the drug. Many individuals who reported feeling sick after ingesting synthetic marijuana have tested positive for brodifacoum, which is a poison typically found in rodent repellents. Victims report symptoms of bleeding gums, blood in the urine, and severe bloody noses.
Exposure to brodifacoum causes the human body to block its natural use of vitamin K, which helps in the process of blood clotting, according to Dr. Patrick Lank, a medical toxicologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. A person exposed to brodifacoum would have to take high doses of vitamin K for weeks to months to manage their symptoms.
State officials previously have said that over-the-counter vitamin K supplements are not strong enough to treat the condition.
Synthetic marijuana is bad news. It is emphatically not cannabis in any way except appearance, and goes by names like K2, “Spice,” Bliss, Kowboy Kush and more. Though there isn’t one type of synthetic weed, we’ve previously explained it as “a concoction of man-made chemicals that are sprayed onto ground plant matter, that has a vague appearance of marijuana. These man-made chemicals act similar to THC in that they interact with the cell receptors in your brain.”
Health officials have urged Illinois residents to stop taking the drug. Typically, it can be found in convenience stores, head shops, novelty stores, and online. Be aware and stay away.