Synthetic Marijuana Situation In Illinois Kills 2, Number Of Cases Still Growing

Credit Scharls  Creative Commons

The IDPH has warned that anyone experiencing bleeding or bruising after using synthetic cannabis should seek treatment right away.

Three Chicago convenience store clerks were charged on Monday for allegedly selling synthetic drugs laced with rat poison, according to police.

27 cases are in Peoria and Tazewell Counties, 23 are in Cook and 2 in Kankakee.

The fake weed problem in IL only worsens.

During that time, physicians treated 456 patients total for synthetic cannabinoid intoxications.

That's almost triple the number reported last week when IL health officials first warned of the new side effect of the drug known as "fake weed", "K2" and "spice".

"We continue to see the number of cases rise", said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah. They can be found nationwide at convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, novelty stores and online.

Since 2015 hundreds of people across the USA have overdosed and been hospitalized after smoking too much or bad batches of synthetic cannabis.

Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation. A lot of them were homeless people stricken in the neighborhood around the New Life Evangelist Center shelter downtown. The man was laying semi conscious on the ground moaning when the medics arrived.

In the wake of the cannabinoid crisis, it's important to note that legalizing marijuana could keep people away from unsafe synthetic drugs.

Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made, mind altering chemicals that are sprayed onto plant matter, according to IDPH, which can then be smoked or inhaled with a vaporizer. These chemicals are also called cannabinoids due to their similarities to the marijuana plant.

However, makers of synthetic cannabinoids try to get around those laws by creating products with different ingredients and labeling them "not safe for human consumption" when they may appear like a type of incense or potpourri, according to the CDC. "Why they're happening? We're still uncertain", he said. "They can contain a variety of chemicals, and users often don't know what those are, such as rat poison", Shah said.

The store workers - Fouad Masoud, 48, Jad Allah, 44, and Adil Khan Mohammed, 44 - were charged on Monday after undercover federal agents said the men sold them synthetic marijuana, known as K2, according to a criminal complaint.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016 found that one of these chemically altered synthetic cannabinoids was 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana.

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