Public Health Alert:
Poisoning Linked to Synthetic Cannabinoid Use
Synthetic Cannabinoids, sometimes called "synthetic marijuana" or "fake weed" are unsafe. The product contains various chemicals and you never know what the product contains, so you do not know what your reaction to them will be. Currently there are synthetic cannabinoids being sold in Milwaukee that contain rat poison and have resulted in reports of severe bleeding after use.
If you have purchased any synthetic cannabinoids in the past month, DO NOT USE THEM!
Do not donate blood or plasma if you have used synthetic cannabinoids.
If you experience any severe, unexplained bleeding or bruising after using synthetic cannabinoids, have someone take you to the hospital immediately or call 911. Do not walk or drive yourself.
The chemical which can cause the bleeding is capable of staying in your system days or weeks so if you have recently used synthetic cannabinoids but are not experiencing symptoms talk to your healthcare provider.
City of Milwaukee Case Count
(as of October 3, 2018)
All of the cases reported to date have required hospitalization. Additional cases are being investigated. Case counts will be updated as information becomes available.
Healthcare Providers: If you suspect a patient is experiencing a serious reaction to synthetic cannabinoids, immediately report to the City of Milwaukee Health Department or local health department of the jurisdiction for the residence of the patient. For the City of Milwaukee, call SurvNet during business hours at 414-286-3624, or after hours at 414-286-2150. In addition, clinicians should contact the Wisconsin Poison Control Center (WI PCC) at 1-800-222-1222 to discuss diagnostic testing and treatment regiments for these patients.
For additional information about synthetic cannabinoids, please visit:
General Information on Synthetic Cannabinoids
What is it?
- Synthetic cannabinoids are various manmade chemicals that some people may use as an alternative to marijuana.
- Synthetic cannabinoid products are unsafe. It is hard to know what the products contain or what your reaction to them will be.
- Synthetic cannabinoids, often referred to as synthetic weed, goes by a variety of different names including: K2, Spice, fake weed, and Black Mamba.
- These products can be found in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, and novelty shops.
Signs/Symptoms of Adverse Reaction
- Severe bleeding
- Unexplained bruising
- Rapid heart rate
Synthetic Cannabinoids can cause other health problems:
- Breathing problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart attack, fast heart rate, high blood pressure, and stroke
- Kidney failure
- Muscle damage
Signs of Excessive Bleeding can include:
- passing blood in your urine
- passing blood when in your stool (black or bloody stool)
- severe bruising
- prolonged nosebleeds (lasting longer than 10 minutes)
- bleeding gums
- vomiting blood or coughing up blood
- sudden severe back pain
- difficulty breathing or chest pain
- severe headache or stomach pain
- joint pain, discomfort or swelling, especially after an injury
- in women, heavy or increased bleeding during your periods
- dizziness or weakness
- vision changes
The long-term effects of long-term synthetic cannabinoid use are unknown.
Is it legal?
- Recent federal and state laws targeting synthetic cannabinoids have banned general categories of ingredients, rather than specific chemicals.
- Makers of synthetic cannabinoids try to get around these laws by creating new products with different ingredients or by labeling them “not for human consumption.”
If you or anyone you know becomes sick after using synthetic cannabinoids, seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or go to the closest emergency room.