- Synthetic cannabis, particularly those contaminated with ingredients from rat poison such as brodifacoum, pose serious health risks, leading to problems like blood in urine or stool, unexplained bruising, nosebleeds, and potentially fatal brain hemorrhages.
- The effects of brodifacoum and other blood thinners used in rat poison are long-lasting, not just for hours or days, but for several months, requiring prolonged treatment with Vitamin K which aids in blood clotting.
- Treatment challenges include patients discharging themselves against medical advice, recurrent usage of the contaminated products, and the high cost of Vitamin K necessary for treatment.
- Despite regulatory bans, manufacturers of synthetic cannabinoids frequently alter their products’ chemical structures to evade these bans, increasing the risks for users who may unknowingly consume synthetic cannabis.
Synthetic cannabis, tainted with rat poison, has led to multiple hospitalizations throughout the United States over recent times. An increasingly alarming phenomena, this particular blend presents significant health concerns, as highlighted by a new investigative study.
The Perils of Synthetic Cannabis with Rat Poison Contamination
Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made substances that interact with the same brain receptors as traditional cannabis. Marketed under names such as Spice and K2, they are available for purchase on the internet as well as at local convenience stores and gas stations. They are usually applied to various herbs and can then be inhaled through smoke. It remains uncertain as to how and why the ingredients found in rat poison have come to be a part of some products. Nonetheless, the hazardous implications of this are unambiguous.
A Peek into the Study and Findings
The study, recently published in a prominent medical journal, critically examines the circumstances of 34 individuals who consumed the contaminated products. They all had received treatment at a single hospital in Illinois during March and April of the previous year. All patients tested were diagnosed with brodifacoum in their systems, a substance known for its extensive use in rat poison. A few also tested positive for additional blood thinners.
Implications and Symptoms
Most patients presented multiple symptoms which included blood in their urine or stool, unexplained bruising, nosebleeds and blood when coughing. In unfortunate circumstances, one patient succumbed to a brain hemorrhage.
Handling such situations proved to be a complex task. Given the design of brodifacoum and other blood thinners used in rat poison, their effects persist not for a few hours or days, but for several months. Thus, these patients required protracted treatment with vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting.
Challenges in Treatment
Several difficulties arose in delivering proper treatment. Eight patients left the hospital against the recommended advice, with six requiring subsequent readmission, and two of them used the contaminated products yet again.
The High Cost of Remedy
Vitamin K, vital for this treatment, poses another challenge by being expensive. Just three 5-mg pills can cost about $81 out-of-pocket. Despite the expensive treatment, the investigators managed to secure the necessary supply for their patients by reaching out to insurance companies, scheduling notification systems, federal programs, and pharmacies. The Illinois health department, enlisting aid from pharmaceutical firm Valeant, was also successful in securing a sizable donation of 800,000 Vitamin K pills.
The Ongoing Battle against Synthetic Cannabinoids
The authorities have banned some chemicals used in synthetic cannabinoids. However, the manufacturers circumvent these obstacles by perpetually adjusting their product’s chemical structures. The consumption of these drugs exposes the users to the role of unsuspecting experimental subjects. Meanwhile, some findings indicate that some users might be unaware they are consuming synthetic cannabis.
For further information about synthetic cannabinoids and their impact on health, please explore this link.