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Maryland Has First Case of Severe Bleeding From Synthetic Cannabis

Spice has spread from Illinois. Now, Maryland has first case of severe bleeding from synthetic cannabis.

A.J. Herrington

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Maryland Has First Case of Severe Bleeding From Synthetic Cannabis

The state poison control center has announced that Maryland has first case of severe bleeding from synthetic cannabis. The Maryland Poison Center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy warned of the danger in a release on Thursday, April 5.

Mayhem in Maryland

According to the notice, the poison center is now investigating the case of a patient from central Maryland who experienced unexplained bleeding after using synthetic cannabis. The patient sought medical treatment and was subsequently hospitalized on April 3.

The poison center is currently in the process of notifying healthcare professionals, emergency services personnel, and the public of the danger.

Officials are now referring to the malady as synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy. Clinical symptoms include abnormal bruising and bleeding from the eyes, gums, and ears. Patients have also reported excessive menstrual bleeding, vomiting blood, and blood in urine or stool.

Synthetic cannabis is a mixture of various plant materials that have been sprayed with cannabinoids produced in a laboratory. Convenience stores and other retail outlets often sell the drug under names such as spice, K2 and fake weed.

Health officials have attributed other serious medical conditions including seizures, hallucinations and kidney damage to the use of synthetic cannabis. Doctors also report neurological side effects including suicidal thoughts and violent behavior.

Similar To Cases In Illinois

The case in Maryland is similar to dozens more that have been reported recently in Chicago and the surrounding area. Public health staff in Illinois now report that the state has 81 cases of bleeding after use of synthetic cannabis. That number increased from the 56 patients they had reported just two days earlier.

Earlier this week, Illinois public health officials reported that they had discovered a dangerous chemical used in rat poison in samples of spice. The substance, brodifacoum, blocks the effects of Vitamin K, a nutrient essential for blood coagulation. Consequently, exposure to the poison can cause uncontrolled bleeding. Doctors treat the condition with high doses of Vitamin K over a long period of time.

Also this week, federal drug enforcement agents arrested three store clerks in Chicago for selling synthetic cannabis. The raid at the  King Mini Mart convenience store in Chicago’s west side also turned up $280,000 in cash.

Agents said the men had been selling 50-60 packets of spice per day at the shop. At least one of their customers was a federal drug enforcement officer, who then obtained a search warrant for the location. Lab tests revealed brodifacoum in samples of spice seized in the raid.

Final Hit: Maryland Has First Case of Severe Bleeding From Synthetic Cannabis

Bruce Anderson is the executive director of the Maryland Poison Center. He warned the public not to use Spice or similar drugs.

“We’re warning people to not use synthetic cannabinoids. While never safe, the recent increased risk of adverse effects such as synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy makes it critical for people to abstain” he said.

Anderson advised anyone who does use synthetic cannabis and develops unexplained bleeding or bruising to seek immediate emergency medical care. They should also call the Maryland Poison Center, he said.

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