A recent report has linked smoking synthetic cannabis, which is sold under names such as Spice, Synthetic Marijuana and K2, with damage to the kidneys.
In 2012, acute kidney injury was reported on 16 occasions in six different states after synthetic marijuana had been smoked, according to data from the Center for Disease Control.
The patients involved in those cases became ill just days and sometimes only hours after smoking the synthetic marijuana. Symptoms included vomiting, nausea, flank and abdominal pain. The patients involved were in different stages of kidney failure. The states reporting cases were Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, New York, Wyoming and Rhode Island.
Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug that is dissolved into a solvent then applied to a plant material and smoked. Effects of marijuana’s active ingredient THC, which is psychoactive, are mimicked when smoking the synthetic marijuana. The products often times are sold in the form of incense and are labeled as “not for consumption” nevertheless people smoke them as a marijuana alternative.
The drugs have been tied to problems with health like hallucinations, agitation and rapid heartbeat. One of the reports’ co-authors Michael Schwartz, a CDC medical officer said that synthetic marijuana is not safe as an alternative to marijuana.
Schwartz said that unpredictable and unexpected health problems occur. He added that the ease in availability of the products added to how rapidly the chemicals in the products change creates a good recipe for public health disasters.