A similar warning has been issued by IN health officials.
The samples tested positive for brodifacoum, a widely used pesticide used in rat poison and highly potent anticoagulant. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued a statement on March 27, warning people that hundreds of chemicals could be included in the drug.
"But the bottom line is, we know they're out there and available and right now, we're seeing unexpected life-threatening effects from people using them, people coming in with unexplained bleeding", said Chicago Department of Public Health official Alison Arwady.
The numbers of those affected by the fake marijuana are reportedly increasing as officials noted that more and more people are being taken to the hospital with symptoms such as "coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums", the health department said in a statement. Individuals reported obtaining synthetic cannabinoid products (i.e., K2, spice, synthetic marijuana) from convenience stores, dealers, and friends.
27 cases are in Peoria and Tazewell Counties, 23 are in Cook and 2 in Kankakee.
"We continue to see the number of cases rise", said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah. "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".
No information about the patient's name, age or gender, or the county where the death occurred, had been provided as of Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported. "We're doing whatever we can with regards to outreach to notify any who may be impacted by this outbreak".
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This isn't the first time a region of the United States has seen an outbreak of health problems tied to synthetic cannabinoids. None of those cases was fatal.
'Because these products are not regulated, it's hard to know the chemical make-up, source and distribution'.
In November 2016, about 300 people in St. Louis were hospitalized from overdoses of synthetic versions of THC.
Synthetic cannabinoids are mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material for smoking or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices, IDPH said.
A man prepares to smoke K2 or "Spice", a synthetic marijuana drug, along a street in East Harlem on August 5, 2015 in New York City.
One study of a synthetic cannabinoid found that it was 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana.
In the 1980s, synthetic cannabinoids were considered research compounds but they are now produced overseas, according to the CDC.