Three people in Illinois have died after bleeding from synthetic marijuana use, health officials said.
More than 100 people in the state have now experienced severe bleeding after using the synthetic pot, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“Each day we’ve seen the number of cases rise,” said IDPH director Nirav D. Shah, who emphasized that “synthetic cannabinoids are unsafe.”
“They are not regulated and people don’t know what chemicals may be in them, like rat poison,” she said. “We urge people not to use synthetic cannabinoids now or ever.”
The third synthetic marijuana-related fatality comes after three Chicago-area convenience store clerks were charged for allegedly selling synthetic cannabinoids laced with rodent poison, police said.
They were each charged with conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute, and to distribute a controlled substance.
Drug users reported coughing up blood, blood in their urine, severe bloody noses, bleeding gums and internal bleeding, according to the IDPH. A number of the 107 people who experienced bleeding tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often found in rat poison.
All three people who died were male. Two of the men who died were in their 20s and the third man was in his 40s.
Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that are sprayed onto dried plants and can be smoked or consumed as liquids through e-cigarettes and other devices.
The chemicals are similar to those found in natural marijuana.