There are many consequences of cannabis prohibition that might not be immediately apparent. One example of such consequences is the fact that when you ban cannabis, people will inevitably try to replicate the effects of the plant in legal ways – such as ingesting synthetic cannabis substances like K2. But just because they’re legal doesn’t mean that they’re safe. In fact, synthetic cannabis can be downright deadly.
A recent news story from ABC 20 in Springfield, Illinois illustrates just how dangerous synthetic cannabis can be. According to the story, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Monday that there have been 107 cases of people with severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana.
“We see a lot of acute psychosis, a lot of psychiatric issues from the K-2, a lot of agitation and physical problems or traumatic problems that occur from that,” Dr. Michelle Alepra of HSHS St. John’s Hospital told ABC 20. “Also, things like renal failure, kidney failure, and this with the bleeding are the biggest issues.”
Once a patient overdoses on synthetic cannabis and ends up in the hospital, there isn’t always a positive outcome. In addition to the 107 people that experienced severe bleeding, there have also been three deaths from synthetic cannabis, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. These are surprising numbers, and the fact that they’re coming from just one state is even more troubling.
“With the bleeding, obviously we want to get them admitted, get them on fluids, get them monitored to see if there’s anything we can do to help reverse the bleeding,” Dr. Alepra said.
In many cases, synthetic cannabis can also lead to psychosis and other severe mental health issues, or can make matters worse for those who are already suffering from mental health problems. Last week, Maryland Poison Center reported a case where a patient was admitted to a hospital due to severe bleeding – from the gums, eyes, and ears. The patient vomited blood as well, and blood was found in their stool. These symptoms sound like something out of a horror movie.
Police are on the lookout for people selling K2 or “spice”, and are cracking down on those who are responsible. Last week in Chicago, three store clerks were arrested for selling spice to customers. With the number of emergency room visits increasing due to synthetic cannabis, the arrests will likely increase as well. However, as we already know, prohibition never works. What does work is spreading the truth about these harmful substances honestly and openly.