Myocardial infarction associated with use of the synthetic cannabinoid K2

Arshid Mir, Adebisi Obafemi, Amy Young, Colin Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Designer drugs have been problematic over the years. Products such as K2 and Spice, which contain synthetic cannabinoids, are marketed as incense and are widely available on the Internet and at various specialty shops. The effects are reported as cannabis-like after smoking them. In addition, use of these synthetic cannabinoids will not appear on a routine urine toxicology screen. Recently, K2 became a popular alternative to marijuana among youths. Health implications of these designer drugs are not completely understood. Little has been reported about the harmful effects of K2. We report here the first (to our knowledge) cases of myocardial infarction (MI) after smoking K2. Three patients presented separately to the emergency department complaining of chest pain within days after the use of K2. Acute MI was diagnosed in each case on the basis of electrocardiogram changes and elevated troponin levels. Coronary angiography was performed, and the results were normal for the first 2 patients. The incidence of ST-elevation MI is low among teenagers, and association with drug use should be suspected. Public education and awareness need to be heightened about the possible health implications of K2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1622-e1627
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Coronary spasm
  • K2
  • Marijuana
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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