The National Institute of Drug Abuse writes that "spice" refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures which produce experiences which are similar to marijuana and that are marketed as "safe," legal alternatives to that drug. These agents are sold under many names, such as K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and others, and are labeled "not for human consumption." The labels on spice products often claim that they contain "natural" psycho-active material which is taken from a variety of plants. However, spice products do not contain dried plant material, and chemical analyses shows that their active ingredients are synthetic, or designer, cannabinoid compounds. In a news release on
Feb. 8, 2013, Jennifer Lollar has reported for the University of Alabama, UAB doctors: synthetic marijuana dangerous for kidneys.
It has been reported for the first time by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) nephrologists that acute kidney injury is directly linked with synthetic marijuana use. These case studies have been reported online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. It has been reported by these researchers that nephrotoxicity, which is the poisonous effect of a substance on the kidneys, from designer drugs, should be considered when a patient presents with acute kidney injury and no other evident cause. These drugs mimic the effects of marijuana but are man-made and they cannot be detected with routine drug tests.
This has been found to be especially true for young adults with negative urine drug screens. Study co-author Gaurav Jain, M.D., has said, “Cases of acute coronary syndrome associated with synthetic marijuana use have been reported, but our publication is the first to associate use with acute kidney injury. Tachycardia and seizures have also been reported with synthetic cannabinoids.” Young people and others should be advised that these drugs may have unanticipated and potentially life threatening side effects, and they should be avoided. Jain has also said, “If they don’t get to a physician in time, the damage to their kidneys could be permanent, and they could end up on dialysis.”