Objective: This study describes the pattern of adolescent synthetic cannabinoid exposures reported to a large statewide poison center system.
Methods: Synthetic cannabinoid exposures among patients younger than 20 years reported to Texas poison centers during January 2010 to June 2011 were identified. The distribution of exposures by various demographic and clinical factors was determined.
Results: For 305 adolescent exposures, the mean age was 16.7 years (range, 12-19 y). The exposure was by inhalation in 77.4% of the cases, and 72.1% involved males. The exposure site was the patient's own residence in 70.5% of the cases, and a health care facility was the caller site in 68.9%. The patient was already at or en route to a health care facility in 80.3% of the cases, and the medical outcome was serious in 61.0%. The most frequently reported adverse clinical effects were tachycardia (41.6%), drowsiness/lethargy (24.3%), agitation/irritability (16.4%), vomiting (13.1%), hallucinations/delusions (11.5%), nausea (8.5%), confusion (8.2%), hypertension (7.5%), chest pain (6.9%), and dizziness/vertigo (5.2%).
Conclusions: Adolescent synthetic cannabinoid exposures reported to Texas poison centers were more likely to involve inhalation. The adolescents were more likely to be male. The exposures more often occurred at the patient's own residence and managed at a health care facility with a serious outcome. This pattern of exposures was similar to that observed among adults.