Authorities reported that two people died from taking synthetic cannabinoids while dozens suffered from its adverse effect.
Illinois health officials have warned residents about taking synthetic cannabinoids following reports of 2 fatalities and an adverse effect which causes severe bleeding.
According to reports, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) already confirmed 56 cases of adverse effects from taking synthetic cannabis since March 7th of this year. From that figure, two deaths due to internal bleeding have been reported while the rest of the victims suffered from bleeding from the eyes, ears, and mouth.
“While many of the cases report acquiring the synthetic cannabinoid products in the Chicagoland area, contaminated products could be in counties across the state,” IDPH said on their website.
“Individuals reported obtaining synthetic cannabinoid products from convenience stores, dealers, and friends.”
Unlike naturally grown cannabis sativa and it’s primary psychoactive cannabinoid THC, synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured “mind-altering chemicals” that can either be sprayed in any dried plant material for smoking or be sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled using e-cigarette devices.
This “artificial marijuana“ is also known by other names like K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Genie, and Zohai.
According to IDPH, artificial cannabinoid products are often marketed as safe and legal alternatives to marijuana, misleading customers by referring to it as synthetic marijuana. The agency firmly states that these products are not safe and have more unpredictable and dangerous, even life-threatening, effects than natural marijuana.
To date, death by consuming cannabis sativa alone is considered extremely remote. In fact, Dr. Alan Shackelford, a high-profile, Harvard-trained doctor who evaluates individuals for medical marijuana prescriptions claims that there have been “no history of any verified reports of a death from cannabis ever.”
Critics of the Schedule 1 controlled substance listing for cannabis sativa point to cases of harm involving synthetic alternatives in order to plead their case for decriminalized, medical, and recreational marijuana production and consumption. A long time supporter of “legal weed”, the magazine High Times recently reported that the synthetic weed alternatives are also killing U.S. soldiers.