Smoking synthetic marijuana likelier to cause strokes among teens

ANI| Last Updated: Nov 20, 2013, 18:43 PM IST

Washington: Case studies by researchers have revealed that the stroke risk could be added to the various other health hazards that may be associated with smoking synthetic marijuana among young, healthy adults.

The study featured the details of a case study by the USF neurologists of two healthy, young siblings who experienced acute ischemic strokes soon after smoking the street drug spice. Ischemic strokes occur when an artery to the brain is blocked.

Seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, psychosis, hallucinations and other serious adverse effects have been associated with smoking synthetic pot.

Senior author W. Scott Burgin, MD, professor of neurology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Tampa General Hospital, said that since the two patients were siblings, they wondered whether they might have any undiagnosed genetic conditions that predisposed them to strokes at a young age.

USF vascular neurology fellow Melissa Freeman, MD, was lead author of the paper.

Synthetic marijuana refers to a mixture of herbs, often resembling lawn clippings, that have been sprayed or soaked with a solution of designer chemicals intended to produce a high similar to cannabis when consumed.

People who smoke spice expose their brains to unidentified chemicals untested on humans.

The study has been published in the journal Neurology.