The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria Health Department are issuing warnings about synthetic cannabinoids after multiple people who've used them suffered severe bleeding.
The substance is also referred to as "fake weed," "K2," and "spice."
Dr. Nirav Shah is director of public health. He says the perception is that synthetic cannabinoids are a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. But he says their potential harm is shown by six cases of bleeding among users of the substance in northeastern Illinois since March 10.
Peoria and Tazewell County officials also report cases of the severe bleeding after people used synthetic cannabis. But they have not specified the number of cases.
The substance is a mixture of hundreds of chemicals. The chemicals are called cannabinoids because they affect the same brain cell receptors as the main ingredient in marijuana.
Shah says they're unsafe because it's difficult to know what chemicals they contain or what an individual's reaction will be.
Peoria and Tazewell County Official warn anyone who has a serious reaction to synthetic cannabinoids should call 911 or have someone take them to the emergency department immediately.