Cannabinoids are chemical compounds known for their wide spectrum of medical uses. These chemicals act on the cannabinoids receptors located in different parts in the body. They may be considered as natural ingredients in marijuana plants, produced within the body, or synthetized by human. Plant-derived cannabinoids, including smoked marijuana, have multiple beneficial effects. However, their significant side effects, such as mood alteration, “high” sensation, dry mouth, and behavioral changes, may limit their large-scale use particularly for the treatment of remarkable disease.
Therefore, scientists continually seek for safer alternatives with the same therapeutic efficiency. Actually, synthetic cannabinoids may show this promising action although some studies have shown that the risk of requiring emergency medical treatment increases greatly with using such synthetic compounds when compared to natural cannabinoids. As such, this study focused on reviewing the safety profile of synthetic cannabinoids during treatment based on data extracted from the hospitals and poison control centers.
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Manageable signs after exposure to synthetic cannabinoids
The use of synthetic cannabinoids may be associated with some behavioral changes, such as agitation, and an alteration of mental health. In addition, it is possible that psychosis, which occurs when the patient has no contact with reality, may develop even if the patients has no history of previous psychotic symptoms. Additionally, exposure to synthetic cannabinoids has been associated with deteriorations in certain symptoms in the patients receiving psychiatric treatment. Other psychiatric sings include anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are other apparent side effects after using synthetic cannabinoids. The overall effects of synthetic cannabinoids were relatively similar to those experienced after using cannabis.
The potential serious side effects of synthetic cannabinoids
Despite their relatively rare incidence, acute symptoms of significant risks have been reported. For example, approximately 15% of children and adolescents receiving synthetic cannabinoids are prone to develop seizures. Further, some reports demonstrated that kidney problems may occur soon after receiving synthetic cannabinoids, where flank pain, nausea and elevated renal functions were present. For confirmation, other studies showed specific changes in the urine, including present of protein and blood. Referring to the cardiovascular system, an accelerated heart rate was the most common cardiac problem along with hypertension. Blockage of the blood vessels in the brain and heart were also reported and this was associated with damage of the target tissue. Death due to synthetic cannabinoid use was reported as a result of disturbed heart beats or damage to the heart and kidneys.
The use of synthetic cannabinoid treatment entails a sort of risk of acquiring adverse effects that mostly resemble those of natural cannabis. However, most symptoms were manageable without the need to hospital admission. Severe toxicities may occur, including seizures, irregular heartbeats, and brain damage. Future studies should aim at developing a suitable antidote to counteract those toxicities. It is also imperative to identify the patients at greater risk of severe toxicity to minimize its incidence.