The use of synthetic cannabis could increase the risk of stroke in young users, finds a study.
Known as "spice" or "k2", synthetic cannabis has also been linked to a wide range of other reported side effects. These include anxiety; psychotic episodes; rapid or slowed heartbeat; chest pain; low blood pressure; fainting; kidney damage (tubular necrosis); and inflamed arteries and veins in the hands and feet (thromboangiitis obliterans).
Greater awareness of the dangers of synthetic cannabis use is needed, suggest the study's authors.
"The development of immunoassays aimed at detecting these drugs in serum or urine will also help in stratifying the population at risk," they wrote.
"However, the diversity among different drugs under this common umbrella of 'synthetic marijuana' will remain a barrier to successful testing of all chemicals with a single battery of tests," they concluded.
The study appears in the journal BMJ Case Reports.