Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Third Illinois Death Due to Cannabinoids

Third Illinois Death Due to Cannabinoids

In a news release, OLPD did not confirm the man's death occurred because of the synthetic marijuana but said an autopsy revealed the victim had brodifacoum, also known as rat poison, in his system, as well as suffered excessive internal bleeding.

Several synthetic cannabinoid users who were treated for severe bleeding tested positive for a chemical called brodifacoum, a pesticide used in rat poison, Megan Wade-Taxter, spokeswoman for the in health department, said in an email.

All 3 of the deaths associated with synthetic cannabinoids were men, 2 in their 20s and 1 in his 40s. The products, which have been around for years, can be smoked or vaporized in e-cigarettes and are commonly sold in convenience stores, gas stations and drug paraphernalia shops across the United States.

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"Although synthetic cannabinoids in general are risky, the severe bleeding seen in these cases is consistent with someone who has been exposed to rat poison", Wade-Taxter said. Symptoms may range from unexplained bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in the urine or stools, coughing up or vomiting blood, to bleeding in the brain.

"Overdose deaths have been attributed to the abuse of synthetic cannabinoids, including death by heart attack", according to the website of the Drug Enforcement Agency. The CDC and the IDPH previously issued warnings about the adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids, following 6 reports of severe bleeding between March 10 and 27.

"Synthetic cannabinoids are unsafe", said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shad, M.D., J.D. "While efforts are under way to get contaminated drugs out of circulation, it's possible they could re-emerge".

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Though the synthetic cannabis is illegal, the key can be to look at the packaging to determine if that's what it contains, Stenger added.

Synthetic marijuana is marketed as legal and sold in colorful packets with street names such as K2, Spice and AK-47. They're called cannabinoids because their chemicals are similar to what can be found in a real marijuana plant.

"Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS)".

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