Synthetic Marijuana Use Linked to Kidney Damage

With marijuana being illegal, there have been attempts to make a legal alternative to cash in on that market. With products such as K2 and Spice which started showing up in gas stations in 2008 at a price around $20 a gram, many people thought they presented a good option for someone to get high legally.

However, these products are now illegal in 38 states and the FDA has moved many of the components used to create synthetic marijuana to Schedule I, effectively making it illegal nationwide.

What is Synthetic Marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana is a chemical mixture that is designed to mimic the effects that THC causes when used. This mixture is then applied to chopped herbs so that when used, the intent is for the user to receive a similar high to marijuana.

However, since they mark the package with the label “not for consumption”, the manufacturers avoid having their product regulated for safety that most products intended for human consumption would go through. With this lack of oversight, there is nothing protecting users of these drugs from dangerous ingredients that may be toxic and cause organ damage and other health problems that cannot be predicted without the knowledge of the ingredients used to produce them.

Synthetic Marijuana Use Linked to Kidney Damage

Potential Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana Use

The Drug Abuse Warning Network released a report in December of 2012 which shows that 11,406 people went to the emergency room because they had used synthetic marijuana in 2010. One of the most worrying issues is that it seems that the use of these synthetic drugs has a strong link to serious kidney damage. This includes the potential to kill off cells in the kidney, which can lead to kidney failure and a need for dialysis in the case of prolonged use.

Along with the elevated risks of kidney damage, synthetic marijuana can cause other troublesome health issues. Use of these drugs can cause an acute rise in blood pressure, which can lead to serious heart conditions. Along with the advertised high that the drug is meant to give, there is a chance for it to cause psychosis in people who use it.

The University of Alabama did a study of four people hospitalized due to synthetic marijuana use. The study was of four men who all came from the same town in Alabama.

All of the patients went to the ER complaining of nausea, vomiting and stomach pain and were found to have acute kidney damage. All four cases occurred within a nine week period of time.

Three of the cases were a type of kidney damage that caused abnormally low levels of urine; the fourth had a drop in blood flow to the kidney. In three of the cases, there was the death of kidney cells that could have led to kidney failure. Fortunately for them, their kidneys were able to heal and they did not require dialysis.

Problems in Diagnosis

Doctors unfortunately were unable to figure out what caused this damage as they were unable to get a sample of the synthetic marijuana product that the men had used. It is suspected that some of the chemicals used in the production of these designer drugs are responsible for the kidney damage.

As one of the selling points of these synthetics is the fact that they do not show up in a drug test, it is also hard to determine if someone has been using one of these drugs. Since the majority of users are in the late teens to mid-twenties, one of the methods for determining if someone uses synthetic marijuana is the kidney damage.

The Bottom Line

Synthetic marijuana is being touted as a way to get high without the harmful side effects of real marijuana, but the problem is that synthetic marijuana is just as harmful, if not more so, than the actual drug. If you are suffering from a substance abuse problem involving a synthetic marijuana product, then it will benefit you significantly to get some help for the problem and move on without a reliance on the drug.

There are substance abuse treatment programs and facilities that focus on synthetic marijuana and other similar products, and so they will be able to custom tailor a recovery solution to meet your needs. Today is the day for you to pick up the phone and reach out for the help that you need and deserve.

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