Synthetic CBD Causes 52 Person Illness in Utah

Synthetic CBD oil bottles

SALT LAKE CITY — CBS News reported that at least 52 people have allegedly become ill after consuming synthetic CBD oil in Utah. Several of the people who became ill were staying at The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City homeless shelter. Volunteer Troy Turnbow said he saw several homeless people at the mission show signs of sickness after using the synthetic CBD oil, noting several of them allegedly began to seize after losing focus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report announcing 52 people over a three-month period had become sick after ingesting the synthetic cannabidiol (CBD). 

The report was released Thursday, May 24 and revealed at least 25 of those afflicted either consumed Yolo CBD Oil or had tested positive for a synthetic compound called 4-CCB. Samples of Yolo CBD Oil obtained by authorities also tested positive for the synthetic CBD compound.  

Don't Ask, Don't Tell 

Cannabidiol was legalized for severe epilepsy in Utah back in 2014, but regulations were never drafted or implemented. The lack of government regulation allowed for the sale of unsafe drugs. Consumers were stuck playing safety roulette.  

Spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Jack Wilbur said law enforcement overlooks most illegal activity concerning the sale of CBD oil.  

“It’s been a little bit of a don’t ask, don’t tell kind of a business,” he said, adding that consumers are on their own due to the absence of regulations.  

Marijuana activist Angela Bacca said the ban on marijuana forces desperate people to go to the black market where drugs aren't regulated and where safety standards don’t exist to protect the consumer from getting unsafe medicine.  

“These people having problems with CBD oil is 100 percent a side effect of prohibition,” said Bacca.  

The Senate in Utah voted to pass a bill last March that would allow terminally ill patients with a life expectancy of six months or less to have access to legal medical marijuana. A ballot initiative gathered enough signatures for the November ballot.  

Gov. Gay Herbert (R) says he is against the ballot initiative. He doesn’t think referendums are the best way to create laws but says he welcomes a debate about legalization.  

If passed, the Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative would allow the sale of medical marijuana in the state, as well as widen the scope of enrollment for eligible patients. Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox has until Friday, June 1 to certify the initiative for the ballot. 

Cases of synthetic marijuana overdoses have also recently occurred in Illinois and New York. Synthetic marijuana is unsafe, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the public not to consume the drug.