Maryland has had its first case of poisoning from synthetic marijuana that can be tied to the rash of frightening poisonings seen in Illinois. On the heels of this case, Maryland health officials are warning residents to beware of the products, and reiterate the message that these illegal drugs are dangerous and deadly.
The drugs in question are synthetic cannabinoids – also known as “spice” or synthetic marijuana. Products of this type have been banned in the state of Maryland since Maryland enacted a tough criminal ban on synthetic marijuana products in October of 2013.
As of April 17th, Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen resounded the warnings of other U.S. health officials. “We want to warn all of our residents of the warning signs of someone who may have taken synthetic cannabinoids, and urge anyone who witnesses these symptoms to call 911 or take the individual to the ER immediately,” said Doctor Wen.
The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana and Synthetic Cannabinoids
The compounds in various forms of synthetic marijuana change often – a tactic the drug manufacturers utilize to try and stay ahead of strict drug laws and avoid the harsh penalties. This has led to some very serious health issues in users, who never know exactly what chemical composition they are actually using. This latest composition has proved to be more deadly than past formulas, leaving 3 dead and more than 80 cases of severe bleeding in the Chicago area.
Officials say that Brodifacoum – a common ingredient in rat poison — was found in the batches in Illinois, and Maryland Poison Center fears there could be more cases like this coming in the Maryland area. The poison causes uncontrolled bleeding – as it is an anticoagulant.
Symptoms of Dangerous Synthetic Marijuana Batches
Residents of Maryland are being told to look out for the tell-tale signs of synthetic cannabinoids use, including:
- Bleeding from the Gums
- Blood in Urine/Stool
- Excessive Bruising
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Excessive Back Pain
- Excessive Bleeding or Hemorrhaging
- Excessive Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
- Suicidal or Harmful Thoughts and Actions
- Vomiting Blood
More Information from the Baltimore City Health Department
Additionally, while the sale of these products is illegal under Maryland State Law, some businesses continue to sell the previously unregulated synthetic marijuana products. Officials are asking the public to help identify any businesses that are still selling the products, and businesses can be reported by dialing 311.
In cases of ingestion of any form of synthetic marijuana, get help immediately. Call 911 for emergencies, and you can get #POISONHELP from Maryland Poison Center direct to your phone.
Dr. Bhalavat is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and provides inpatient evaluation and consultation services at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Maryland Recovery Partners, and Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bhalavat’s background includes treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and dementia.