Kidney Failure Outbreak Linked to “Legal Marijuana”

A recent outbreak of kidney failure has been linked to a possibly tainted batch of synthetic marijuana. This ‘legal marijuana’ is often referred to as ‘spice’, but has gotten the attention of health officials. Just in March, five people had to be hospitalized in an eastern Wyoming city with only 55,000 residents. In other areas, health officials reported that at least 30 people were taken to the hospital during late April and early May due to kidney problems caused by smoking this synthetic marijuana.

Most of the patients that were treated were in their teens or early 20’s. They all reported experiencing vomiting, back pain, and stomach pain after ingesting this tainted spice. Health officials have been investigating a number of other related instances where people described experiencing similar symptoms. They reported that a large number of these patients in particular stated that they had smoked blueberry-flavored spice.

This synthetic marijuana is created by spraying chemicals on plant product. These chemicals can mimic the effect of THC when ingested. Scientists have been trying to find what chemicals were used in tainted batch of spice that got so many people sick. Investigators have reported that they believe a roach killer was used on the synthetic marijuana that made people sick. The news has astonished many people across the country, as they want to know how this stuff could ever be legal?

At this point health officials have been viewing this spice as a potentially life-threatening substance. Recently in Georgia, state officials passed a new law this month which made it a felony to possess any chemicals which could be used to make synthetic marijuana or similar product. A similar ban was enforced by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on five chemicals which are commonly used to make spice.

This outbreak of spice users being hospitalized with kidney failure has gotten a lot of people on edge. A sheriff in Georgia reported receiving a number of frenzied calls from parents worried about their kids. Fortunately, none of these youths were hospitalized with renal impairment complications.

In a recent report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, spice is most popular amongst people who are interested in an alternative to marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is marketed to these people as an easily available, legal alternative, and unfortunately this has become a big selling point. Investigators have stated that now they are focusing their efforts on tracking down the sellers of this tainted spice. Spice is often sold in head shops, specific retail stores, or over the internet. Some reports have even shown that a large amount of this tainted spice is being sold on the streets just like any other illegal substance.

Despite the efforts to ban the production of synthetic marijuana, manufacturers are continuing to shell this stuff out. These guys are simply making some minor tweaks to their spice recipe, this way they are using alternative chemicals instead of the banned ones. This effectively allows them to skirt the new laws and bans trying to prohibit the drug. Reports have shown that the use of spice has been on the rise in the last few years. Synthetic marijuana has become especially popular amongst teens and young adults, most likely due to the easy access to the drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 11 percent of high school seniors reported trying spice in the last year.



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