Ischemic Stroke after Synthetic Marijuana Use

W. Scott Burgin, MD Professor and Chief Cerebrovascular Division Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center Department of Neurology USF College of Medicine Tampa General Hospital Stroke CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
W. Scott Burgin, MD
Professor and Chief, Cerebrovascular Division
Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center
Department of Neurology
USF College of Medicine
Tampa General Hospital Stroke Center.

MedicalResearch.com What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Burgin: Two cases of stroke, of embolic appearance, shortly after smoking synthetic marijuana.

MedicalResearch.com Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Burgin: This is a relatively new recreational drug class, and not much is known about its toxicity.

MedicalResearch.com What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Burgin: Synthetic marijuana constitutes a wide range of potential chemicals, and there can be any number of  organic materials that it is sprayed on to allow it to be smoked.  The toxicities of these agents are unclear, the purities and sources of the drugs are unknown, and the potential interactions are uncertain.

This should not be regarded as a safer alternative to organic marijuana.

Physicians should be alert for newer designer drugs, such as synthetic marijuana, particularly when presenting with neurological symptoms. These are not detected on most common drug screens, and require special testing.

MedicalResearch.com What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Burgin: This is only an observational report. More study will be required.

Citation:

Ischemic stroke after use of the synthetic marijuana “spice”
Freeman MJ, Rose DZ, Myers MA, Gooch CL, Bozeman AC, Burgin WS.
From the Department of Neurology, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Neurology. 2013 Nov 8. [Epub ahead of print]

 

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