The Illinois Department of Public Health further confirmed that at least nine of the cases were tested positive for rat poison.
Synthetic cannabinoids – also known as fake weed – have been linked to two deaths and 56 cases of profuse bleeding across the areas in central Illinois as well as in Chicago.
After ingesting the drug, patients displayed worrying symptoms including blood in the urine, bleeding gums, bloody nose, and coughing up blood. All the patients were hospitalized.
In yet another worrying aspect of this story, the Illinois Department of Public Health stated on Monday that of all the people who were hospitalized – nine of them tested positive for rat poison.
Currently, the state officials are trying to determine the source from where all the victims obtained the drug, while also looking to find a common cannabinoid related to these cases.
Since the investigation is still ongoing, many questions remain unaddressed; the most important of which is the contaminant which poisoned the drug.
Also, while 17 of the recent patients belonged to Chicago, the Department of Public Health has warned that the contaminated products could be spread across the state.
There also were twelve cases in Tazewell County, 14 in Peoria Country, five in Cook Country, 2 in Kankakee County, and one each in the Kane, Will, McLean, and DuPage Counties. The origin of two cases is yet to be confirmed.
What is Fake Weed?
Also known as synthetic cannabinoid, fake weed is a synthetic chemical which can be consumed via an e-cigarette in the form of vaporized liquids, or can be smoked after sprinkling on shredded, dried plant material.
These chemicals are known as cannabinoids because they have similar properties to those chemicals which are found in marijuana.
That said, the synthetic cannabinoids are 85 times as potent as the chemical found in marijuana. Their adverse effects include rapid heart rate, hallucinations, agitation, and vomiting.
Not the First Time
While current events have proved to be deadly, America has, in the past, also faced similar health problems which owed their origin to synthetic cannabinoids.
For example, in 2017, 102 cases were reported in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who overdosed on synthetic marijuana. Fortunately, none of those cases were fatal.
A similar scenario happened in 2016 when 33 people in Brooklyn fell ill after what the doctors suspected to be an overdose of synthetic pot.