Dozens of Floridians have been hospitalized due to their use of a marijuana alternative.
More than 40 Florida residents in Hillsborough County have been hospitalized due to severe bleeding caused by the use of synthetic marijuana.
"We are closely monitoring this situation and working with public health agencies," said Florida Poison Control in a Monday statement. "Toxicologists and poison specialists are assisting hospitals in the treatment of these poisoned patients."
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The individuals in question displayed "symptoms associated with coagulopathy, a condition where the blood's ability to clot is impaired," reports the Hillsborough County Department of Health. "While the symptoms reported have varied, most cases have had bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, vomiting blood, blood in urine or stool, and heavy menstrual bleeding."
Poison Control claims that the bleeding outbreak is attributable to people buying synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice," from local dealers in the area around Tampa, Florida.
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Synthetic marijuana refers to a multitude of illegal substances that "produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as 'safe,' legal alternatives to that drug," says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The product is often sold under various names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, and many others.
Synthetic marijuana was once sold in convenience stores and online but has been heavily restricted by the law, claims the NIDA.