A substance often called "fake weed," "K2," and "spice" can cause severe bleeding and possibly death. These products are found across the U.S. in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and online.
WHAT IS NEW?:
- As of June 20, 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health has received reports of 164 cases, including four deaths since March 7, 2018.
- As of June 20, 2018, the Maryland Poison Center (MPC) has received reports of 31 cases, with 1 death, linked to an outbreak that was first reported on April 3, 2018.
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has released a new one-page fact sheet on synthetic cannabinoids (PDF). Now available in English and Spanish.
|Type of Cases||Number of Cases|
|Total cases reported to Wisconsin DPH||15|
Counties with confirmed cases include Dane, Milwaukee, Outagamie.
If you have purchased any of these products in the past month, do not use it. If you have used any of these products, and start experiencing severe, unexplained bleeding or bruising, please have someone take you to the hospital immediately or call 911. Do not walk or drive yourself. Tell your health care providers about the possible link between your symptoms and synthetic cannabinoid use.
About Synthetic Cannabinoids
Synthetic cannabinoids are not one drug. Hundreds of different synthetic cannabinoid chemicals are manufactured and sprayed on dried plant material or sold as liquids to be inhaled in products like e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. New cannabinoid chemicals with unknown health risks are available each year.
Synthetic cannabinoid products are unsafe, and the health effects from using them can be unpredictable, harmful, and even life threatening. CDC is currently monitoring data across the nation regarding outbreaks.
Alternate Names for Synthetic Cannabinoids
These products are sold under various names including:
- Black Mamba
- Bling Blang Monkey
- Bombay Blue
- Cloud 9
- Fake Weed
- Kisha Cole
- Legal Weed
- Red, Blue, or Yellow Giant
- Scooby Snax
Health Professional Information
In patients who present with bleeding not from an injury and not otherwise explained, including nosebleeds, bleeding of the gums, bruising, vomiting blood, blood in urine or stool, or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, ED and urgent care providers are encouraged to:
- Ask patients if they have used synthetic cannabinoids within the last 3 months. Terms for these products may include K2, Spice, Synthetic Marijuana, Fake Weed, Legal Weed, and Genie.
- If the patient reports synthetic cannabinoid use or you suspect use, check the patient’s INR before releasing them.
Additional Clinical Information
- DPH Synthetic Cannabinoid Memo for Pharmacies - 4/4/2018 (PDF)
- DPH Synthetic Cannabinoid Memo for Hospital Emergency Department and Urgent Care Clinicians - 4/11/2018 (PDF)
The Illinois Department of Health has released a short webinar for clinicians on synthetic cannabinoids.
Media requests should go to the DHS media or 608-266-1683.