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  1. mrsolearyscow
    (Reuters Health) - Three 16-year-olds experienced heart attacks after smoking K2, a blend of herbs and spices laced with synthetic cannabis-like chemicals, Texas doctors reported Monday.

    While there is no proof that the drug is to blame, the doctors worry it might have been the cause.

    "Lots of teenagers get chest pain, but very few teenagers get that from a heart attack," said Dr. Colin Kane, a pediatric cardiologist at UT Southwestern & Children's Medical Center in Dallas. "I am certainly suspicious that there was something in the K2 that would have caused these heart attacks."

    A few earlier reports have linked marijuana use to heart disease, but this appears to be the first time K2 has surfaced in that context, Kane told Reuters Health.

    K2 is one of several "fake pot" products that have become increasingly popular among young Americans. Other brands include Blaze, Spice and Red X Dawn.

    The herbs and spices in these products have been sprayed with chemicals known as synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of natural cannabis.

    Once legal, five of these substances were banned nationwide by the Drug Enforcement Administration in March of this year. The DEA explained in a statement that it had received reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement about K2 and similar products.

    "Emergency room physicians report that individuals that use these types of products experience serious side effects which include: convulsions, anxiety attacks, dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, vomiting, and disorientation," the agency said.

    With the new report, in the journal Pediatrics, heart attack has been added to the list.

    Kane and his colleagues describe three teenage boys who had come separately to their hospital complaining about chest pain. After undergoing an electrocardiogram and other tests, it turned out each of the kids had suffered a heart attack.

    But they had none of the typical medical problems that usually lead to heart attacks in adults, like cholesterol buildup in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.

    After questioning the boys, who came to the hospital within three months of each other, the doctors found out that all three of them had smoked K2 a few days before their symptoms began.

    While it's impossible to know for certain what caused the heart attacks, Kane and his colleagues suggest the K2 might have caused temporary spasms in the coronary arteries. That, in turn, might have cut off the heart's blood supply long enough to kill part of the muscle.

    Kane said his hospital hasn't seen more cases since these three, which happened about a year ago.

    "I'm not sure if use is going down or if there was something particular about this batch" of K2, he said.

    He added that the boys' hearts work normally now and haven't lost any strength, so it appears they got off with a warning.

    "The real take-home message is that these products -- K2 and Spice and other products like that -- might initially be attractive because they are easy to get and they don't show up on a drug screen, but they might have some harmful effects," cautioned Kane.

    Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/07/us-teens-heart-attacks-smoking-idUSTRE7A66TN20111107

Comments

  1. Bad Rabbits
    Good find. I know these cases are from a year ago, but it does make you wonder just what's going on with the producers of K2.

    I can't make out if the recent thread regarding the young lad who died, was actually the use of K2, or another brand.


  2. mrsolearyscow
    Yeah, that was K2. He died because of burns to his lungs though, and the plastic pipe he used looked like a major culprit.

    Also I'm wondering if it really was K2 in every instance, or if people are just using it as a generic name like 'Spice' now.
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    'Fake Marijuana' May Trigger Heart Trouble in Teens
    Report details cases of three boys in Texas who smoked K2 and then suffered attacks

    TUESDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Three teenage boys suffered heart attacks after smoking K2, a form of synthetic marijuana, according to a new case report.

    During the span of a few weeks last fall, Dr. Colin Kane, a pediatric cardiologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, was surprised when the teens, all aged 16, were admitted with chest pain. Chest pain -- and heart attacks especially -- are very unusual in teens, so doctors at first suspected a virus.

    But electrocardiograms, which measure the heart's electrical activity, and blood tests that measure levels of a protein called troponin (high levels are a telltale sign of heart attack), showed that two of the boys had indeed had heart attacks.

    The tests for a third boy were inconclusive at first, but while he was in the hospital his chest pain got much worse, and subsequent tests showed he, too, had suffered a heart attack.

    All had reported smoking both marijuana and K2 between a day and a few weeks before the attack, Kane said. The case reports are published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

    Dr. Anthony Scalzo, chief of toxicology at St. Louis University and medical director of the Missouri Poison Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, said it's difficult to prove that K2 caused the heart attacks.

    Only one boy had a urine test for K2 and that came up negative, which isn't surprising since the drug has a short half-life in the body, Scalzo explained. All the boys came up negative for other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, but it's still possible the boys may have been using other illicit drugs or taking steroids and lied about it.

    "This article raises additional concerns about the toxicity of K2 and newer synthetic cannabinoids that are out in the market," Scalzo said. "Youth and parents should be warned about the dangers of these substances and that in any given case it is like a game of Russian roulette. You might be the next case report of a serious seizure, mental health crisis or perhaps a premature heart attack."

    K2 and "Spice" are often marketed as incense and sold in packets of herbs that are laced (often sprayed) with synthetic marijuana at "head shops" and online. The drug also goes by other names, including Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Yucatan Fire, Solar Flare, Genie, PEP Spice and Fire n' Ice, according to the U.S. Drug Intelligence Center.

    While people who smoke K2 are seeking a marijuana-like high, there have been many previous reports of young people going to the emergency room because of agitation, anxiety, racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure, Scalzo said.

    The drug itself was developed in the mid 1990s in the lab of John Huffman, a Clemson University chemist, who was conducting U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse-supported research on cannabinoids. The chemical, which he called JWH-018 and JWH-073, was similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, only more potent.

    "These compounds were not meant for human consumption," Huffman said. "Their effects in humans have not been studied and they could very well have toxic effects. They absolutely should not be used as recreational drugs."

    Since 2009, increasing numbers of reports from poison centers and hospitals of kids becoming ill from smoking K2 prompted at least 16 states and some counties to outlaw K2. In March, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used its "emergency scheduling authority" to make possessing or selling JWH-018 and four other similar chemicals illegal.

    "The temporary scheduling action will remain in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled," a DEA statement said.

    Kane agreed that he can't say for sure that it was the K2 that caused the heart attacks. He also doesn't know if all the boys smoked the same batch. But he suspects the drug caused the coronary arteries that bring blood to the heart to spasm temporarily, cutting off blood supply.

    And because the drugs are unregulated, "who knows what else these drugs could be contaminated with?" he said.

    Since their heart attacks, the boys have recovered, although one who played high school football was devastated when Kane told him he'd have to sit out the season.

    Texas has since banned K2.

    "It still easy to get," Kane said. "I just saw a kid this week . . . who had smoked K2 and was having chest pain, palpitations, headaches and trouble breathing."

    November 8, 2011
    By Jenifer Goodwin
    HealthDay Reporter

    http://health.usnews.com/health-new...-marijuana-may-trigger-heart-trouble-in-teens
  4. spectrum1
    Don't forget there are many versions of K2 that aren't produced by the legitimate (lol) company, just knockoffs.
  5. Ellisdeee
    This is the part that sends a red flag to me. So nobody had a heart attack yet, but coincidentally, when somebody did, 3 young people did at the same time. It would be far more believable that it wasn't some fucked up batch if even 1 of 3 of the kids had a heart attack. The fact all 3 did makes it seem very evident that the batch was perhaps something really screwed up.

    I know once my headshop owners were talking about their attempt at quality control with these blends. They have some local sources, but were even showing me some packages they picked up from gas stations that were bootlegs of 'real' blends they had - showed me the mimic packages to go with them. They tell me they are rather careful about even the sources they get their spice from and say they have to turn down countless people who stroll in trying to get their 'spice' on their shelves. Lots of filtering has to be done, but that some places just take any of these products and stock them. Can't rule out the spice but...if synthetic cannabinoids had that much potential to cause heart attacks wouldn't it be more likely someone who smokes the powder frequently, or heck, even some of the older buyers above age 35, would have had heart attacks by now. Not.....3 teenagers at the same time. But it does make example that there can be some bogus blends on the shelves. That is why even though I choose to use it, I only buy a small assortment of blends from a local source the headshop has been getting for a year+. Even in my place, new packages show up all the time. I can't imagine how high the number of different, unregulated blends there are just floating around the US in every state. Or the world in every country. All I know is every teenager just about will be willing to lie to their parents about drugs they take, nothing makes me think kids wouldn't hide drugs they took from a media/hospital source. I am glad the article leaves plenty of room for the fact that there could have been countless other drug [combinations] involved. I find it interesting they all 3 seek this help a 'few days later'. It almost makes me want to think the boys all found some Datura, took it, and smoked spice/pointed the finger at spice. Datura I have heard of giving young people heart attacks and it could be 2 days at least after consumption till they return to "Earth" from it all. Or hey, maybe somebody put Datura in a spice blend. Who knows.

    We could make up a million scenarios of what could have been the culprit...sucks about this stuff. We don't know the rest of the story at all, or if the spice was the only thing the boys took, or if they failed to mention other things. It's sad but, on top of not knowing the story they are still willing to draw quick connections a non avid reader wouldn't differentiate. So they get a story of 3 kids who went to the hospital and had this weird case problem, they tie it to other hospital reports. What I am saying is, when something bad happens, they can throw out a statement like, "x number of hospital visits related to k2 happened" when in fact a whole % of those hospital visits might have been people having panic attacks, not the same caliber problems these people had. But if you throw the two together quickly, you can make it sound like multitudes of people were on the border of the same problem these 3 teens were who went to the hospital. I always play devils advocate, not on purpose, and try to see good in things. I'll tell anyone first hand buying random commercial blends is dangerous to an extent, and this story definitely emphasizes that everything on the shelves might not be worth your time. But there are also a lot of blind spots in this story unanswered and the fastest culprit (mostly because this culprit itself lies in the realm of the unknown) is K2 it seems.

    @mrsoleary - Even if it was packaged 'k2' there could be no telling. Like my example, there are so many bootleg blends that completely copy the entire package design and try to mimic it. On top of that, what you said, I noticed lots of people do just call it K2 or Spice, as generic names. Even the 'other references aliases' of "spice" they mention are some of the same names they have been mentioning since 2010. I have a feeling it's just a generic way to call it what it is. Heck, even my therapist calls it all K2.
  6. Bad Rabbits
    Yeah, personally I suspect that the plastic pipe is more to blame, and not just because I'm 'pro-drugs' as it were.

    Alfa raised a very interesting point about the quite real possibility of solvent residues though. Although I wouldn't expect it to cause that kind of damage, it's another factor to consider.

    Exactly, this is why I was unsure.. I know they stated 'K2' in the article, but who knows? Also, as Ellisdeee and Spectrum1 have both pointed out, it seems knock-off blends are not uncommon...
  7. EscapeDummy
    How about...

    DON'T SELL POWERFUL PSYCHOACTIVES TO MINORS?

    Seriously, fuck the head shop owners in this case. Teenagers are stupid. I was a teenager once, and I was stupid. Minors still have developing brains and bodies. We don't let them vote, and they are deemed too young to give consent. They can't smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, why the fuck are they allowed to buy K2 and other blends?

    Every head shop I've ever seen in california has had an 18+ rule. Then again, I've never actually been carded at any headshop I've been to, but perhaps if someone is trying to buy tobacco, salvia, spice, or bath salts, they should be carded?
  8. Ellisdeee
    It didn't actually say where they obtained it from. In Texas they could have bought it from a cheap little quaint gas station. I tried a "k2" blend from a gas station once. It felt tainted to hell, dirty and just like plain ass. Threw it out tbh. If they obtained it as minors then they could have obtained it from quite a shady place in the first place if they sold it to minors. Even I had my ID checked when I bought it at a gas station.

    With people trying to get their concoctions sold *somewhere* and no quality control, you end up with shady places carrying bullshit and reputable places carrying something as high quality as what a well informed person who orders the pure powder themselves and makes a quality cannabinoid smoking blend would end up with. Whoever the owners of whatever place sold it to minors, is already apparently not thinking too brightly about his actions? It's weird though I guess. Some blends say 18+, some probably don't include age cause they say not intended for smoking/consumption. But most places know exactly what they're selling and should card someone if they look young. I don't like to generalize, but like places that sell alcohol to minors, all the ones I ever knew of were shady as hell lol. I almost have no doubt minors would have to get this stuff from a shady place? Seems like a probability.
  9. Terrapinzflyer
    It is worth noting that on young, seemingly healthy individuals running tests for a heart attack would NOT be normal. This could be BS, but it could well be a case of a doc thinking "outside the box".
  10. mrsolearyscow
    Heh, I've been carded trying to buy knives, matches, and alcohol (not all in the same shopping trip, though!) but I haven't been carded by a headshop once.
  11. Nanashi
    Funny, Ive bought all those things without being hassled. But I've gotten carded just walking into a headshop^
    Its marketed as incense. Maybe the gov should put a 18+ rule on potpourri.
    If they do, who will it piss off? Youngins who are smoking the shit.

    My guess is that it was a really strong brand and they rolled it up into a blunt like a bunch of stupid asses, thinking it would affect them like pot. I've seen many many people do this. After smoking a very small hit of (another brand)
    I had a mild anxiety attack and very fast/strong heartbeat.

    I can absolutely see how some young kids could end up getting a heart attack. In fact i'm surprised there aren't more cases popping up.
  12. akrowdy
    I got carded once when I bought a lottery ticket lol At the head shop I use to buy from they carded and once I saw a young guy buy about 20 packs of incense then got in his car filled with a bunch of high school aged looking kids. Maybe they were 18 but I suspect no. Kids are Gona get want they want if they are determined.
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