Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that it was the first time they received an "outbreak" of this magnitude caused by the fake marijuana.
So far, there have been 56 cases of severe bleeding found in synthetic cannabinoid users.and two have died. While officials are continuing to evaluate what is causing the previously unseen bleeding, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Monday that nine of the cases have come up positive for a rat poison called brodifcoum, which acts as a powerful anti-coagulant.
Synthetic cannabinoids are sprayed on to dried plant material and then either smoked or vaped. Tell your health care providers about the possible link between your symptoms and synthetic cannabinoid use.
Officials said the dead, who was not identified, experienced severe bleeding after reporting the use of synthetic cannabinoids.
"We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids", Shah added.
The health department is trying to determine where the 38 people obtained the products - often found in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops and online - before they started bleeding profusely.
Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.
Synthetic cannabinoid, often called Spice or K2, is a man-made mixture of hundreds of chemicals that affect the same brain cell receptors as the main ingredient in marijuana. That study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016. The CDC notes that "people who smoke these products can react with rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations".
"Most of what we are seeing is spontaneous bleeding of the gums or nose, in the stool and urine", he said. "We don't know if the supply of synthetic cannabinoids in IL and the Chicago area have been tainted by someone with brodifacoum, or rat poison".