MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued a warning about synthetic marijuana products that have recently sent multiple people to the hospital with severe bleeding.
The state has had seven confirmed hospitalizations in Dane, Milwaukee and Outagamie counties caused by the use of the synthetic drug since March, the Wisconsin State Journal reported . Another eight cases remain unconfirmed, but are also likely linked to the drug, according to the department.
Department officials advise against using the products, which are often referred to as "K2" or "Spice." Synthetic cannabinoids often contain harmful chemicals, such as rat poison, the department said.
"The dangerous products are still in the community and we urge people not to use K2, Spice, or any synthetic cannabinoid," state health officer Karen McKeown said in a statement.
Wisconsin deemed the substances illegal in 2011. Possession could result in up to $1,000 in fines or jail time.
The department said versions of the drug are created each year, and come with unknown health risks. Synthetic marijuana products can be found in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops and online in some states.
Capitol Petro convenience stores in Madison and the franchise's owner were fined $1.3 million last year for over 16,000 violations related to selling the synthetic marijuana products.