Illinois public health officials warn of synthetic marijuana dangers

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — Doctors have been warning about the dangers of spice, K2, and all other kinds of synthetic marijuana since the psychoactive substances first hit the streets years ago.

The Illinois Department of Public Health this week issued the same warning once again.

“Synthetic canabinoids are popular because they are often believed to be legal and relatively safe,” Melanie Arnold with the Department of Public Health said. “When in fact many of them are not legal, and they are not safe.”

Arnold said the latest problem reported with fake pot is severe bleeding.

The IDPH says six people in or around Chicago have all been treated for bleeding problems since March 10.

But that’s not the only health concern.

“They can cause different kinds of severe side effects,” Arnold said. “Agitation, irritability, seizures, sleepiness, dizziness, heart attack, fast heart rate, and the latest one we’re seeing is severe bleeding.”

It’s not just the state that’s putting out the warning.

 Public Health managers in Peoria are issuing their own warning after seeing some people with “life-threatening” bleeding after they smoked synthetic marijuana.Dr. Gary Knepp with UnityPoint Health in Peoria said Wednesday that the synthetic marijuana that’s causing the problems has been sprayed with a chemical that causes internal bleeding.

“The bleeding is difficult to detect until more advanced, rapid bleeding occurs,” Knepp said.

Both doctors and public health managers are urging anyone with synthetic marijuana to get rid of it immediately.