At least 1 person is dead and 38 have been hospitalized in Illinois after overdosing on K2, a substance that purports to simulate the effects of marijuana. It has been causing people to bleed profusely from their eyes and ears and experience bloody urine. Here’s why…
What is it?
Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice or K2, is a drug consisting of hundreds of chemicals that mimics the high produced by marijuana. Many of the people who were hospitalized tested positive for brodifacoum, which is often used as rat poison.
Synthetic marijuana is typically made up of dried and shredded plant material, which is meant to look like marijuana. That material is then doused with any number of chemicals, including synthetic cannabinoids that are meant to get the user high.
These chemicals work by binding to the same system of receptors in our brains as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in herbal cannabis. In some cases, synthetic marijuana can be two to 100 times more potent than naturally occurring THC.
Why are They Using it?
Recreational adult marijuana use is only legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. So it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking for ways to get high legally. Surprisingly though, even in some states where marijuana is illegal, people are still ingesting synthetic marijuana.
“Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are safe and a legal alternative to marijuana, many are illegal and can cause severe illness,” Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause.”
Now, public health experts are warning people once again about the dangers of synthetic marijuana.
The long-term effects of long-term usage of synthetic cannabinoid use are still unknown, so be safe, buy some actual weed, and stay away from the fake stuff.