Three Chicago men charged for selling lethal fake marijuana

Fake weed tied to 38 cases of severe bleeding in Illinois

IL public health officials are blaming synthetic marijuana for a person's death.

On March 31 and April 2, the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed two deaths associated with severe bleeding linked to these synthetic cannabinoids. Of the reported cases in IL, the drug has caused users to cough up blood, observe blood in their urine, get nosebleeds, and experience a number of other symptoms, like bleeding from their eyes and ears.

"We continue to see the number of cases rise", Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the state's Department of Public Health, said in the statement.

Fouad Masoud, 48 and Jad Allah, 44, from Justice, Illinois, a village near Chicago and Adil Khan Mohammed, 44 of Chicago were charged with selling synthetic cannabinoids - often called K2, Spice or fake weed.

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.

To date, IDPH has reports of 56 people, including two deaths, in the Chicago area and in central IL who have experienced severe bleeding and reported using synthetic cannabinoids.

'Because these products are not regulated, it's hard to know the chemical make-up, source and distribution'. They can be found nationwide at convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, novelty stores and online.

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

The effects can be unpredictable, harmful and deadly, according to IDPH. They are marketed as drugs claiming to provide the effects of cannabis. All 56 have required hospitalization for hemorrhaging; so far the bulk of the cases have been in Chicago, Cook County or Tazewell County, but others are scattered as far as Peoria.

In the 1980s, synthetic cannabinoids were considered research compounds but they are now produced overseas, according to the CDC.

Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.

"Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS)".

In the past few years, doctors have become familiar with the health outcomes people can face when they are exposed to synthetic cannabinoids, said Dr. Patrick Lank, an emergency physician and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in IL.

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