Three Chicago men charged for selling lethal fake marijuana

Three Chicago men charged for selling lethal fake marijuana

Public health officials have linked the death of a second person to the use of synthetic cannabinoids after they used the drug and suffered severe bleeding. Health officials remain with little clues as to what caused the drug contamination, although investigators are resuming their investigation.

"We continue to see the number of cases rise", Dr. Nirav Shah, who is the of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

In a follow-up of the outbreak of severe bleeding due to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, IL health officials report an additional 18 cases and one death, bringing the outbreak total to 56 severe bleeding cases and two deaths since March 7.

The numbers of those affected by the fake marijuana are reportedly increasing as officials noted that more and more people are being taken to the hospital with symptoms such as "coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums", the health department said in a statement.

Synthetic cannabinoids - also commonly referred to as Spice, K2 or fake weed - are found in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops and novelty stores, and are purchased online.

The two deaths occurred in Peoria County and Kane County, and cases have been reported in nine counties so far outside Chicago. None of those cases was fatal.

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

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Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.

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

The U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse website Drugabuse.gov says that "synthetic cannabinoids are human-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices".

Synthetic cannabinoids are a man-made mix of chemicals marketed as safe alternatives to marijuana.

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant.

"They include things like seizures, heart attack, kidney failure", said Lank, who was not involved in the recent synthetic cannabinoid cases.

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