Another life has tragically ended after using synthetic marijuana, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Saturday.
Additional details about the case — including the person’s name, age and gender — were not released. The person suffered severe bleeding before dying.
To date, at least 38 people in Chicago and central Illinois have been hospitalized for severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana (also known as Spice, K2 or fake weed), the health department said. Nationwide, hundreds have died.
Symptoms include coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody noses and bleeding gums.
Three people have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as rat poison.
Synthetic marijuana is made by spraying chemicals on dried plant material, the health department said. The product can be smoked or sold as a liquid — and is often found at convenience stores, gas stations, novelty shops and online. Health effects can be unpredictable.
Illinois public health authorities have also alerted pharmacies to expect patients needing high dose therapy with Vitamin K1 and check that their supply chain can provide adequate amounts of the drug:
"As patients who experience ill-effects from synthetic marijuana are hospitalized, stabilized and released, they will be prescribed large doses (≥50mg/day) of long-term Vitamin K1 (phytonadione) to manage their symptoms. They may need these large doses for several weeks to months. Although unusual to see such high doses prescribed, due to the long-acting nature of this poisoning, these high doses are required," they wrote.
These high doses of phytonadione can cost $18,000 or more for a month's supply.
"Due to the high costs associated with these prescriptions, we ask that you work with patients to try to identify the most cost-effective formulations. Counsel these patients that compliance with the prescribed phytonadione therapy and laboratory monitoring is necessary to prevent recurrence of bleeding complications."
We wonder why anyone would even want synthetic marijuana, especially when safe, tested real cannabis can be legally obtained in so much of the nation.