A new study has found evidence that synthetic “cannabis” may lead to comas and seizures in teenage consumers.
The study on pediatric medicine, published on July 8, discovered that teens who consume drugs that mimic cannabis such as Spice or K2 are more at risk to suffer from seizures. “These findings suggest that teens are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of Spice and K2,” said Emily Feinstein, executive vice president and CEO at the Center on Addiction, in New York City, New York , according to Medical Express.
Teenagers who had only consumed synthetic cannabis, and not real cannabis, triple their odds of experiencing seizures, coma or central nervous system depression compared to those who consumed legitimate cannabis. When teens combined synthetic cannabis with other illegal drugs, the risk was increased even further. “Adolescents represent the largest age group that presents to emergency departments (ED) for synthetic cannabinoid (SC) toxicity; however, the neurotoxic effects of acute SC exposures in this group are understudied,” the study explains. “Our aim was to characterize the neuropsychiatric presentation of adolescents with SC-related exposure in the ED compared with those with traditional cannabis exposure.”
The study was led by Columbia University Medical Center’s Dr. Sarah Ann Anderson, based in New York City. Anderson and her research team utilized Toxicology Investigators Consortium Case Registry to obtain data on teenagers from 65 hospitals in 23 different states. Overall, the range of time that was analyzed took place between 2010 and 2018.
The study’s results strongly suggest that synthetic cannabis puts consumers at risk compared to regular cannabis, but researchers warn consumers to make the right choice about their health. “People may think, ‘Oh, I get high from marijuana. This may be cheaper and I may get higher,’ so you might see this pop up more,” Dr. Scott Krakower told UPI.