Baltimore, Md (July 20, 2018) – Reports of a spike in severe health problems associated with
synthetic cannabinoid use in the Washington, D.C. area over the last week
underscore the dangers associated with these products. While a similar spike
has not been identified in Maryland at this time, the Maryland Poison Center
and the Maryland Department of Health warn Marylanders about the continued
serious health risks associated with
using these unpredictable, harmful, and potentially deadly products, and urge
residents not to use any of these products.
cannabinoids — which are also known as synthetic marijuana, K2, spice, fake weed, among other names — are human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are
sprayed on to dried plant material. They can be smoked or sold as liquids
to be vaporized in e-cigarettes and other devices. These chemicals are called
cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana
plant. However, synthetic cannabinoids can cause serious side effects that
are very different from those of marijuana.
Recently, synthetic cannabinoids have been found to be
contaminated with a chemical (brodifacoum) used in some rat poisons, which can
cause severe bleeding and death. Synthetic cannabinoid products may also be
contaminated with other drugs or toxic chemicals. In addition to bleeding, they
can cause breathing problems,
gastrointestinal problems, heart attack, fast heart rate, high blood pressure,
stroke, kidney failure, and muscle damage.
Cases of life-threatening bleeding disorders linked to
synthetic cannabinoid use continue to be detected in many states, including 33
cases, with at least 1 death, in Maryland since the first case was detected
on April 3.
who has used synthetic cannabinoids develops significant unexplained bleeding,
it is recommended they:
immediate medical care at a hospital.
the Maryland Poison Center at 800-222-1222.
If people have issues or concerns after using synthetic
cannabinoids, the Maryland Poison Center is available for consultation 24 hours
a day by calling 800-222-1222. For
substance use disorder resources, call Maryland’s Crisis Hotline at 211 and
Marylanders who need help finding substance
use disorder treatment resources should visit http://goo.gl/nIfGm0 or
call Maryland Crisis Connect, which provides 24/7 support, at 211, press 1. For
information on many of the policies currently implemented to fight addiction
and overdose in Maryland, see http://goo.gl/KvEzQw. If
you know of someone in need of treatment for a substance use disorder,
treatment facilities can be located by location and program characteristics on
our page at http://goo.gl/rbGF6S.
Department of Health is the State agency that protects Maryland’s public
health. We work together to promote and improve the health and safety of all
Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management, and
community engagement. Stay connected: http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464