So far this month, 89 people have been hospitalized and 2 left dead after ingesting synthetic marijuana produced by Big Pharma, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The users ingested an FDA-approved version of synthetic cannabis known as K2 or Spice.
Herb.co reports: Synthetic cannabis is a man-made chemical compound designed to act on the cannabinoid receptors and is sprayed onto plant material to mimic the real thing. It can be smoked or vaporized just like real cannabis but is considered to be far more dangerous due to the unpredictability of its contents.
“We continue to see the number of cases rise,” IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement on April 2nd. “IDPH is continuing to work with local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other partners, to try to identify common products. Without more information, IDPH does not know how much contaminated product is circulating or where. We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids.”
According to local reports, treatment for those who have been poisoned by synthetic cannabis is available so long as medical attention is sought. Local health officials have told reporters that those seeking treatment will not face prosecution.
While police are still investigating the origins of the substance which has hospitalized dozens across the state, three people were charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Monday, April 2nd for selling synthetic cannabis from a convenience store on Chicago’s West Side.
The three men were arrested after undercover officers managed to purchase the substance from the store owners and preliminary testing of the substance purchased found that it contained brodifacoum.