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Synthetic Marijuana Use Linked to Kidney Damage
Date:2/12/2013

tors suggested that how the drug is manufactured may have played a role in its dangerous effects to the kidneys. They pointed out that synthetic marijuana is made with certain additives, which may be toxic to the kidneys.

However, the investigators could not confirm that the drug's preparation causes kidney damage because they couldn't analyze samples of the synthetic marijuana the men took or the men's blood and urine samples, which were no longer available.

"There is very little information regarding the ingredients in synthetic cannabinoids that are sold on the streets, although it is known that additional compounds are added to the preparations," said Jain. He suggested that it is "very likely" that a substance that is toxic to the kidney was added to the drug used by the patients.

The doctors concluded that patients with acute kidney injury should be asked about use of designer drugs, such as synthetic marijuana. "If they don't get to a physician in time, the damage to their kidneys could be permanent, and they could end up on dialysis," cautioned Jain.

The researchers pointed out that synthetic marijuana has become increasingly popular over the past few years because it's relatively cheap and difficult to detect with drug screening tests.

The research was released online in advance of publication in the March print issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about synthetic marijuana.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, Feb. 8, 2013


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