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Synthetic marijuana causes kidney failure in 15-year-old Oklahoma teen

A Mustang High School student is recovering from kidney failure after smoking synthetic marijuana. He is one of two patients in an Oklahoma City hospital with kidney failure because of synthetic marijuana.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: December 6, 2012

A 15-year-old Mustang High School student is recovering at an Oklahoma City hospital after suffering kidney failure from smoking synthetic marijuana.

The boy has been at the Children's Hospital since Nov. 29 and has been on and off dialysis. He is one of two patients with kidney failure at Children's Hospital because of synthetic marijuana.

Rhonda Woodriff, the teen's mother, said Thursday at a news conference that her son starting showing symptoms of a stomach virus Nov. 26. He continued getting worse and told his mom he needed to see a doctor.

Similar cases have been reported in other states. The Oregon Health Authority reported at least six people sick after smoking synthetic marijuana in Oregon and southwest Washington. Cases also have been reported in Wyoming and New York.

In April, school officials in Tahlequah reported two students taken to a hospital because of adverse reactions to synthetic marijuana.

The Mustang High School student is slowly recovering from kidney failure. Doctors said it could take weeks before a prognosis is known about what the long-term impact of the synthetic marijuana will be.

Dr. David Myers, an OU Children's Physicians pediatric nephrologist, said not much is known about which chemicals in synthetic marijuana are causing adverse reactions, such as kidney failure. There are multiple brands of the drug, such as K2 and Spice, and actual ingredients are rarely listed.

Oklahoma recently passed legislation banning certain chemicals found in synthetic marijuana. It is sometimes found at convenience stores and head shops.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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