The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued an alert about a synthetic form of marijuana being laced with a substance used as rat poison that's being blamed for causing severe bleeding, and has killed two in IL.
In a statement, the Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar warned that brodifacoum can be highly lethal and that it should not be consumed.
The contaminated synthetic marijuana that IL public health officials have been warning about has claimed at least two lives - a 22-year-old suburban Chicago man and another state resident.
Brodifacoum is used as an ingredient in rat poison. Only two people have been known to have died from smoking synthetic weed, and many others have been sent to the hospital. A third death in Cook County has all the markings of being connected but doctors are still awaiting the final toxicology report.
All of the cases involved unexplained bleeding, such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, bloody nose or bleeding gums.
However, Prather also thinks its possible that the bleeding could've been caused by a yet-to-be identified chemical that was reportedly first identified in 2012. It is a human-made chemical that is sprayed on dried plant materials and meant to be smoked or vaped.
The person's symptoms were similar to dozens of cases in the Chicago region in the last several weeks. Because of this similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called "synthetic marijuana" (or "fake weed"), and they are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug.
Health officials in Maryland are warning people about serious bleeding problems linked to the use of synthetic cannabinoids.
To date, the illnesses have been associated with the use of synthetic marijuana products.