Contaminated synthetic cannabinoids have recently caused cases of severe bleeding. Many of these patients have been treated in Peoria, Illinois at the Unity Point Clinic. The Illinois Department of Public Health stated there have been four deaths and 164 reported cases reported since May 9th. This was linked to an outbreak beginning on March 7th causing the users of synthetic cannabinoid to experience severe bleeding. This may be linked to a brodifacoum contamination.
The cases were potentially related and occured in Missouri, Florida, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia. Brodifacoum is generally used as a rodenticide and is classified as a 4-hydroxycoumarin vitamin K antagonist. The testing for these cases was performed in a laboratory. Exposure to brodifacoum has been confirmed in sixty of the patients. There are at least seven product samples of synthetic cannabinoids that tested positive for brodifacoum. All of these samples were related to the current outbreak. For additional details regarding this situation please visit: https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20180518cannabinoids.html
The IDPH stated synthetic cannabinoids are made by humans using mind altering chemicals. These chemicals are used to spray plant material that has been shredded and dried. This material is then either sold to be inhaled and vaporized in several devices including e-cigarettes or smoked. These products are commonly referred to as liquid or herbal incense. The brand names they are marketed under include Bombay Blue, K2, Zohai, Black Mamba, Spice and Genie. According to the report these products may also be packaged using different brand names as well.
The chemicals contained in cannabinoids are very similar to what is found in marijuana. They are also referred to as fake weed or synthetic marijuana. The IDPH additionally stated there are a new group of NPS or new psychoactive substances drugs. Synthetic cannabinoids belongs to this group. NPS are mind altering substances that are unregulated. They have recently become available on the market and are supposed to create the same effects as illegal drugs.
The CDC released general guidance on synthetic cannabinoids intended for health care professionals. They said these types of drugs originally appeared in Europe and went on sale around 2005. They were available in the United States in 2008. There have been thousands of reports received by poison centers regarding the adverse health effects individuals using synthetic cannabinoids have experienced. In 2015 there were 7,794 calls regarding this substance. The most prominent users of synthetic cannabinoid are men in their twenties and thirties.