As recreational marijuana becomes legalized in more states, the market behind it has become much larger. As such, companies have come up with an alternative good, which is the synthetic cannabinoid. However, some health risks have presented itself since the product is still the first of its kind. Let’s begin with what synthetic cannabinoids are. They are man-made chemicals that come in various forms like vaporized liquids and so. Subsequently, people can smoke them through a vaporizer or some sort of electronic cigarettes.
On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health has declared four deaths that happened in central Illinois because of synthetic cannabinoid use.
However, this was not the first casualty that has occurred since synthetic cannabinoids made its debut. As a matter of fact, more than a hundred people, 153, to be precise, have suffered from health problems as a result of using synthetic cannabinoids. On top of that, there have been four lives lost as a consequence, too. What’s worse is that these people were relatively young, with two men in their twenties, a woman in her thirties and a man in his forties.
According to state health officials, there has, apparently, been brodifacoum present in the synthetic cannabinoids that were distributed along certain regions of central Illinois and all of Chicago. If you didn’t already know, brodifacoum is a sort of rat poison. A large majority of reported health problems in Illinois includes bleeding in a number of places, in the nose, the urine, the gums and even just coughing up blood. Apparently, a compound in brodifacoum leads to serious bleeding because it blocks blood from clotting, the state health department conveys.
Earlier this month, three men were charged by the US Attorney’s Office with federal drug offenses for allegedly conspiring to sell synthetic cannabinoids at a convenience store in Chicago.
While it is one thing to suffer from health problems from the use of synthetic cannabinoids, it is another to be tricked into it. It seems that some wrongdoers have been advertising synthetic cannabinoids as K2, spice and even fake weed. In the beginning of April, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a warning regarding this matter. The CDC informs of potentially life-threatening bleeding that is caused by the synthetic cannabinoids. The CDC “outbreak alert”added that these cases have been found in other states like Wisconsin, Missouri, Maryland as well as Indiana.
To further emphasize on the severity of this issue, take a look at the increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths recently. As a synthetic version of marijuana, their effects on our brains and bodies are actually much stronger than the original product. As such, their side effects also vary such that they are more lethal and dangerous.
Dr. Nirav Shah is the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, who has further elaborated on the matter in a written statement issued on Tuesday.
“We continue to see new cases of individuals experiencing severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids. Like so many other drugs, synthetic cannabinoids are addictive and people are not able to give them up. Alternatively, they think that it won’t happen to them because they know their dealer or trust wherever they purchased the drugs. If you know someone who uses synthetic cannabinoids, tell them these are deadly products and try to help them get treatment.”
The cure for this condition seems to be high dosage of vitamin K, which functions to allow blood to clot as they should. In fact, health care professionals have been prescribing about 30 tablets per day for as long as half a year. This also means that patients are burdened by thousands of dollars to acquire the necessary treatment. Fortunately, a generous organization have lent a hand in reducing the financial burden for these victims. The Bausch Foundation is a charitable organization under the Valeant Pharmaceuticals, who has provided an extremely generous donation of almost 800,000 tablets of vitamin K.
In another news release disclosed on Monday, Dr. Shah has expressed as follows.
“This donation will allow every individual who has experienced severe bleeding, as well as any future cases, to receive lifesaving treatment free of charge.”
All in all, if anyone you know, or if you find yourself experiencing severe bleeding from using some sort of synthetic cannabinoids, report to the nearest station, call 911 and head to the E.R. right away!
Featured image via flickr/ Miranda Nelson