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State health officials have seen a recent uptick in emergency room visits across the state in relation to people using cannabidiol oil or a similar product in electronic cigarettes and vaporizing pens.
And they are warning the public about the potentially contaminated CBD oil that is causing serious symptoms. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is working with Carolinas Poison Center to investigate more than 30 reports since December of individuals who were treated in emergency departments across the state, according to health officials.
“People should be aware that products labeled as CBD oil might contain other substances,” said State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson. “The symptoms we are seeing that result in these emergency department visits are not typical for CBD oil use.”
CBD oil is made from hemp plants and is used when vaping, consumed with food or drink or placed under the tongue, state officials said. They said CBD oil is widely available under various brand names that consumers can buy in stores or online. Officials said they haven’t identified a specific brand or source associated with emergency department visits.
No deaths have been reported, but the number of patients seeking emergency care has doubled from the previous year.
“Similar serious symptoms related to CBD oil use have been reported at medical facilities at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, where military health authorities have also raised concerns,” according to a release from the health and human services department.
Symptoms include altered mental state, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness and rapid heartbeat.
Officials say anyone experiencing these types of symptoms should seek medical attention and call 911. Individuals can also report symptoms or get more information related to CBD oil by calling the Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
In early February, Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard received several complaints from area parents whose children were behaving strangely and throwing up.
High-schoolers were purchasing a substance sold in local vape stores under the brand name Black Magic. The liquid, sealed and packaged in a vial, is inhaled through an e-cigarette or vaporizer pen.
After several undercover controlled purchases, deputies sent the Black Magic packages off to the state lab for further testing. Results showed the product contained CBD oil as well as synthetic cannabinoids, which are illegal under state law. Synthetic marijuana products are listed as Schedule I controlled substances.
Sheriff’s deputies seized a total of 50 dosages units of Black Magic from several vape stores in the area. Woodard said Wednesday his office hasn’t been made aware of any hospitalizations here as a result of that particular product or others.
Woodard said since deputies confiscated the Black Magic products in mid-February, they haven’t had any more calls from parents.
He said while the possibly contaminated CBD oil other areas in the state are seeing might not be the same substance as what his office seized, it shows the dangers the drug could pose.