Such was the case for Dr. Colin Kane, a pediatric cardiologist in Dallas who saw three 16-year-olds admitted with chest pain last fall. Dr. Kane administered EKGs and blood tests, which confirmed the boys had suffered heart attacks. Once confirmed, doctors went about trying to discover the cause of the heart attacks.
According to Kane, who published the case reports in the journal Pediatrics, all three teens reported smoking marijuana and K2 – synthetic marijuana – within a few weeks of the attack. They didn’t admit to using any other drugs and tests came back negative for cocaine and methamphetamine – narcotics one might normally associate with heart conditions.
This led Dr. Kane to believe the heart attacks were caused by synthetic marijuana like K2 and Spice – also marketed as Spice Gold, Yucatan Fire, Genie, Fire n’ Ice, Solar Flare, PEP Spice, etc. Earlier this year the DEA temporarily made synthetic cannabinoids a Schedule 1 narcotic while the compounds are studied.
Kane acknowledges that it cannot be proven that synthetic marijuana caused the heart attacks – the teens could have used other drugs, including steroids, and lied about it. However, Kane suspects the K2 caused arteries that bring blood to the heart to spasm, which could cut off blood supply and cause a heart attack.
In addition, Kane commented on the fact that synthetic pot like K2 is unregulated. “Who knows what else these drugs could be contaminated with?” he said.
This is an excellent argument for the legalization and regulation of all drugs, which have the potential to do more harm as a product of the black market and which will be consumed regardless of regulation and legality. It should also be noted that there are risks involved for those seeking to synthetically approximate marijuana’s “high.” Even if these teens’ heart attacks weren’t caused by K2, marijuana is undoubtedly a safer alternative.