Synthetic pot is causing a bloody mess in the Chicago area. "What we are seeing is people are coming in with various types of bleeding,” CBS Chicago quotes the chief medical officer of the Illinois Department of Public Health as saying. “Whether it’s nose bleeds, bleeding from their gums, bleeding in their urine. Very severe bleeding that’s prompting them to go to the emergency room.” Officials have reported 22 people taken to the ER with severe bleeding connected to synthetic cannabinoid products since March 7, the Chicago Tribune reports. In addition to the above symptoms, fake weed users are bleeding from their eyes and ears, as well as coughing up blood. Officials say there have so far been no deaths connected with the synthetic pot.
While synthetic pot can present a host of health risks, severe bleeding is not a known side effect. “This bleeding is not expected, at least in such a significant population so quickly,” says one area ER physician. The director of toxicology for the NorthShore University HealthSystem tells NBC Chicago the tainted synthetic pot—which is typically made of hundreds of chemicals—could contain some sort of blood thinner or anticoagulant. Patients have reported getting synthetic pot from dealers, friends, and convenience stores, and officials are trying to identify a single product linking the cases. Officials seized some synthetic pot—also known as K2 and spice—from a Chicago mini-mart, but no arrests have been made. Officials warn that while most of the bleeding has been in the Chicago area, the tainted synthetic pot may have spread throughout the state. (Read more synthetic marijuana stories.)