THURSDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Sixteen cases of serious kidney damage caused by synthetic marijuana products were reported in six states last year, according to a new U.S. government study released Thursday.
Although no one died, all 16 people had to be admitted to hospitals and five required hemodialysis, the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. In hemodialysis -- a treatment commonly used to treat advanced kidney failure -- a person's blood is filtered to remove waste and extra fluids, and then the clean blood is returned to the body.
The patients described in the CDC report ranged in age from 15 to 33, all but one were male, and none of them had a history of kidney disease.
"Synthetic cannabinoids, which are sold in smoke shops and convenience stores under names like 'synthetic marijuana,' 'Spice,' 'K2,' or 'herbal incense,' are designer drugs dissolved in solvent, applied to plant material, and smoked," the researchers explained. The report is published in the Feb. 15 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The government report followed on the heels on new research released last week that found that synthetic marijuana has been directly linked to serious kidney damage.
Those researchers, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, pointed out that synthetic marijuana has become increasingly popular over the past few years because such man-made drugs are relatively cheap and difficult to detect with drug screening tests.
They also suggested that doctors should suspect the use of synthetic marijuana when patients, particularly young adults, have unexplained acute kidney damage.
"Cases of acute coronary syndrome associated with synthetic marijuana use have been reported, but our publication is the first to associate use with acute kidney injury," study co-author Dr. Gaurav Jain, an assistant professor in the nephr
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