Cannabis, which has recorded medicinal value, is usually shunned and stigmatized. However, fake weed or Synthetic cannabinoids – at times deadly – are sold in convenience stores or even gas stations in the U.S.
While U.S. police authorities conduct raids of gas stations selling fake cannabis, the casual availability of this artificially made substance, imbued with obscure chemical ingredients, has killed two people and caused the severe bleeding of 56 others across Chicago and areas in central Illinois, U.S. media reported on Monday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said on Monday that nine of the cases tested for brodifacoum or rat poison.
Often called Spice, K2 or fake weed, CNN reported that all of these cases required hospitalization related to “coughing up blood, blood in the urine, bloody nose, bleeding gums and other symptoms.”
Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, is shocked.
“This is the first time we’ve seen an outbreak of this magnitude in the area.”
“We’re working with numerous different partners across the city and state as we investigate this outbreak.”
In January, about 60 soldiers and Marines experienced serious medical problems after using synthetic cannabis. The incident shocked the U.S. army, which led to its strange decision to ban the use of the calming component in cannabis, CBD, by its soldiers.
Athletes and soldiers at times toy around the idea over the use synthetic cannabis to escape dire consequences of drug testing. Marijuana remains federally prohibited.
“We continue to see the number of cases rise,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in the statement.
In Illinois, the recreational use of cannabis is decriminalized, giving people the freedom to use proper, good quality marijuana. However, the incident shows that there is a need for a campaign to raise awareness of the huge difference between real and fake weed. Learning how to distinguish will definitely save lives.