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Synthetic Pot Causing Severe Bleeding Among Users In Illinois

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As if abuse of real opioids isn’t posing enough of a crisis right now, the state of Illinois has to contend with another contestant in the ongoing drug war: synthetic marijuana that is causing users to bleed out their eyes and ears.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported on Thursday that since March 7, at least 22 people have reported severe bleeding after taking synthetic weed products, Gizmodo reports. The bleeding has occurred from the eyes, ears, noses and gums of confirmed patients. Other systems include vomiting and urinating blood, experiencing large, unexplainable bruises, and heavy menstrual bleeding.

There was been no one single product linked to all the cases so far, though the majority of those suffering from these symptoms admit to having bought from dealers, stores and friends in the Chicago area. There have been no reported deaths, to date.

Nirav D. Shah, director of the IDPH, said in a statement,

Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are safe and a legal alternative to marijuana, many are illegal and can cause severe illness. The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause.

Manufacturers of synthetic pot spray chemicals that mimic the high of traditional marijuana onto herbs that can be smoked, or sell them in the form of liquid for vaping. They come in dozens of names, such as Spice, K2, and so on, and contain an unregulated and constantly changing concoction of chemicals that can lead to vastly different experiences for users.

Users have reported feeling psychotic effects, including paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Others have actually died, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Federal and state governments have been scrambling to put a ban on the ingredients commonly found in synthetic pot, but manufacturers keep coming up with new, untested products.

As of now, there appears to be no concrete explanation for the bleeding that is happening in users of these products.

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