Two people have now been reported dead among dozens of cases of synthetic marijuana users who've turned up at Illinois hospitals in recent weeks complaining of severe bleeding. Per CNN, the more than 50 cases all involve hospitalizations in and around Chicago, where complaints have ranged from bloody noses to bloody coughs, blood in urine and other startling symptoms. While officials are continuing to evaluate what is causing the previously unseen bleeding, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Monday that nine of the cases have come up positive for a rat poison called brodifcoum, which acts as a powerful anti-coagulant. As of last week, officials had reported 22 people taken to the ER with severe bleeding connected to synthetic cannabinoid products since March 7, the Chicago Tribune reports.
To date, the IDPH has tallied 56 cases involving severe bleeding linked to synthetic marijuana use in Chicago and central Illinois. In addition to other symptoms, fake weed users are bleeding from their eyes and ears. Official are now working to try to identify any common products and determine where they were obtained. Per the IDPH, synthetic cannabinoids are human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed onto dried plant material. They can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes and other devices. These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant; however their effects on health can be unpredictable, harmful, and even deadly. (Read more synthetic marijuana stories.)