April 25 (UPI) — Another person has died from exposure to synthetic marijuana — the fourth in just the last few weeks, the Illinois department of Public Health said.
More than 130 people in 13 Illinois counties have been sickened since March 7 by the imitation marijuana — which contains a formula that differs slightly from cultivated marijuana to maintain its legality.
One added ingredient is brodifacoum, a chemical found in rat poison and sprayed on vegetation. Experts say brodifacoum prevents blood clotting and can lead to severe internal bleeding.
Synthetic pot is sold under various names, like K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Genie and Zohai.
Officials said Wednesday the most recent death, a woman in her 20s, occurred in central Illinois. One man in the Chicago area and two men in the central part of the state have also died.
The state health department said synthetic cannabinoids act on the same brain cell receptors as the main active ingredient in marijuana. High doses of Vitamin K, up to 30 tablets per day for up to six months, can help a patient’s body return to normal clotting functions.
The agency recently received 800,000 Vitamin K doses donated by pharmaceutical firms to help in the case.
“We continue to see new cases of individuals experiencing severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids,” said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav Shah in a statement. “Like so many other drugs, synthetic cannabinoids are addictive and people are not able to give them up.”