Synthetic Marijuana Effects Mimic Ebola Symptoms

Synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice, K2, or more generally a very bad idea, has been tied to two deaths and 56 cases of severe bleeding across Chicago and greater Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH):

All cases have required hospitalization for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums.  Nine of these cases have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as a rodenticide, or rat poison.

Officials warn it’s likely there will be more cases, and potentially more deaths. Synthetic cannabinoids, the “fake weed” product, are made from “mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on to dried plant material.” They are commonly sold as liquids to be used in e-cigarettes or as herbs to be smoked, semi-similar in appearance to marijuana. According to Men’s Health:

Part of what makes synthetic cannabis so dangerous is that there’s often no way to tell what chemicals are in the drug. According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, there are now more than 150 different types of synthetic marijuana compounds now on the market, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a statement saying there are “no standards for making, packaging, or selling synthetic cannabinoid chemicals. That means that two packets of a brand-named product may have completely different chemicals… and may also be contaminated with other drugs or toxic chemicals.

 

 

Salmonella Infected Kratom

Kratom, a controversial plant used by people as an opiate substitute and recreational drug, has been linked to a salmonella outbreak. Health officials are warning that people should avoid kratom entirely, and smoke marijuana instead. Just kidding about second part.

Kratom, an “herbal supplement,” is used in low doses as a stimulant and in high doses as a pain reliever. According to WebMD,  “Its leaves have been used for hundreds of years to relieve pain. They can be eaten raw, but more often they’re crushed and brewed as tea or turned into capsules, tablets, and liquids.” Because kratom gives users a “legal high” it has skyrocketed in popularity, though its effects are not entirely understood. And desperate for something to ease the opiate epidemic, kratom has taken on a cult like following among some people.

The CDC reports that so far, 40 people have been infected with salmonella-laced kratom in 27 states. No deaths have been reported. The Washington Post sums up the two sides in the ongoing kratom battle:

Rapidly rising in popularity, kratom is hailed as a readily available pain remedy that is safer than traditional opioids (such as oxycodone), an effective addiction withdrawal aid and a pleasurable recreational tonic. Kratom also is assailed as a dangerous and unregulated drug that can be purchased on the Internet, a habit-forming substance that authorities say can result in opioid-like abuse and death.

Regardless, your kratom is likely tainted with salmonella so stop using it, unless you’re willing to risk days worth of diarrhea.

Whisky, Weed to Ward Off Swine Flu

Good news for those who like to imbibe!

A company called Cannabis Science is hoping the FDA will approve its marijuana lozenges for use in children, teens, and adults.  Robert Melamede, the owner of Cannabis Science, believes that marijuana lozenges could help curb deaths from swine flu.

“The approach relies on the principle that the chemicals in marijuana known as cannabinoids have a dampening effect on the immune system. Melamede said doctors may be able to take advantage of this effect to curb the risk of death from the immune system overdrive that resulted in many of the deaths of young adults during the 1918 influenza pandemic — a scenario that some worry could occur once more if swine flu were to become more virulent.”

Both the former CEO of Cannabis Science, Steve Kubby, and his successor, Melamede,  have self-tested the lozenges.  “Within half an hour of taking it, my runny nose, aching muscles and throat congestion are all significantly relieved,” Kubby said, adding that users of the lozenge will not get the “high” or “stoned” effects that come with smoking marijuana.  Kubby and Melamede maintain that the chemical compounds in marijuana could decrease the chance of a “cytokine storm” situation, in which the immune system (especially in young adults) goes into overdrive and causes the lungs to fail.

Of course, Cannabis Science has quite the uphill battle before marijuana lozenges are passed out in school.  And don’t think doctors are about to go advise patients to smoke up if they come down with the flu.

“While marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are widely accepted as a treatment for glaucoma or arthritis, its use as an antiviral raises eyebrows even among pot-friendly physicians.  “Though it may have some antiviral effects, these have not been proven scientifically,” says Dr. David Allen, a chest surgeon and cannabinoid research scientist from California…

One thing, however, is clear: Smoking marijuana likely will do much more harm than good if you happen to have a respiratory infection — not to mention that smoking anything is damaging to someone with flu-related respiratory ills.”

Marijuana Lozenges for Swine Flu?

In other news, Russian soccer fans are being encouraged to drink Welsh whisky to combat the swine flu.

“Welsh whisky is on offer to Russian supporters as a disinfectant,” Alexander Shprygin, head of the national team’s fan club, said Monday. “This will relieve any symptoms.”

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