State and local Public Health officials are not revealing the identities of the victims.
Consumption of synthetic cannabinoids previously has caused serious health problems such as seizures and kidney failure, but the side effect of severe bleeding is tied to the recent outbreak, said Dr. Patrick Lank, a medical toxicologist who works at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. However, three of those hospitalized in the outbreak tested positive for rat poison, so it's safe to speculate the ingredients aren't exactly kosher.
Synthetic cannabinoids are sprayed on to dried plant material and then either smoked or vaped.
While numerous cases report acquiring the synthetic cannabinoid products in the Chicagoland area, contaminated products could be in counties across the state. Individuals have reported using a range of synthetic cannabinoid products, including K2, a notorious synthetic whose detrimental health effects have made headlines around the world. These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Synthetic cannabinoids are found across IL and the U.S.in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and online.
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Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.
One study of a synthetic cannabinoid found that it was 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana.
Two of those people have died, IDPH has said.
"Most of what we are seeing is spontaneous bleeding of the gums or nose, in the stool and urine", he said.
Exposure to brodifacoum causes the body to block its use of vitamin K, which is involved in blood clotting.