IL officials report one death from synthetic cannabinoids

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The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, harmful, and deadly.

All of those 38 cases have required hospitalization. They can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes and other devices.

IL bans synthetic marijuana, but some manufacturers have been able to bypass strict laws by making slight modifications to the product to sell them legally.

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"Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are safe and a legal alternative to marijuana, many are illegal and can cause severe illness", said Nirav D. Shah, IDPH director, in a statement. Whether it's nose bleeds, bleeding from their gums, bleeding in their urine.

Sellers of synthetic cannabinoids promise effects similar to genuine cannabis, but use can come with severe agitation, anxiety, a racing heartbeat, raised blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, seizures, tremors and intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. How quickly someone's body could eliminate brodifacoum varies on a case-by-case basis because it is dependent on the quantity consumed and how the poison was ingested.

"People don't realize how risky this is", she said. But officials believe that number will grow, as it's possible contaminated products have been sold across the state. Pharmacists also were advised to stress to patients that over-the-counter Vitamin K supplements were not potent enough to treat this condition.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health has not specified if any of the reported cases involved children or teens, but a memo about the outbreak was sent to state school administrators and school nurses. "If you have purchased this product, do not use it".

Synthetic pot, often sold as Spice or K2, is causing a health emergency in IL.

"If you use synthetic drugs, you're playing Russian roulette with your life", Smith said.

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IDPH reports, "Anyone who has a reaction to synthetic cannabinoids should call 911 or have someone take them to the emergency department immediately".

Chicago Tribune's Kate Thayer contributed.

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