Synthetic Marijuana Use Led to Serious Kidney Damage in 16 People

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 16 cases of cute kidney injury associated with synthetic marijuana use in 6 states last year.

According to the Feb. 15 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the cases reported came from the following states: Wyoming (4), Oregon (6), New York (2), Oklahoma (2), Rhode Island (1), and Kansas (1).

All 16 people, aged 15–33 years, visited emergency departments and subsequently were hospitalized. Most of them experienced nausea, vomiting, and abdominal or back pain. None of the patients reported preexisting renal dysfunction or use of medication that might have caused renal problems, but their toxicology report implicated synthetic cannabinoid products.

Although none of the patients died, five patients required hemodialysis, a treatment to remove waste products from the blood, and four patients received corticosteroids.

The CDC report followed a recent University of Alabama at Birmingham study which reported four cases that directly linked acute kidney injury with synthetic marijuana use. UAB researchers suggested physicians to inquire about the use of synthetic marijuana when evaluating patients with acute kidney injury, especially in young adults with negative urine drug screen.

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