Synthetic Cannabis Analogues and Suicidal Behavior: Case Report

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Abstract

Introduction:

Despite growing legal control, a wide range of synthetic cannabis analogues is currently used for recreational purposes, notwithstanding their well adverse outcomes, which appear to be more frequent and more serious than those associated with cannabis use. We present the case report of a patient with paranoid schizophrenia, who attempted suicide by serious bodily harm after a single use of “Shiva Ultra Strong,” a compound of several synthetic cannabis analogues.

Case Summary:

A 32-year-old male patient with paranoid schizophrenia was brought to the emergency department presenting with a severe self-inflicted wound to the neck which lacerated the right jugular vein and ipsilateral airway, and narrowly missed the carotid bifurcation. On examination, the patient exhibited psychomotor agitation and anxiety. Laboratory tests, which included routine substance use screening, proved unremarkable. The patient was admitted to the ENT Department for surgical treatment, after which he was transferred to our Psychiatry Department, exhibiting consistent improvement with his usual antipsychotic regimen, to which he had good previous adherence. Later, after discharge, he admitted to having used a smartshop drug, so-called “Shiva Ultra Strong,” shortly before the suicide attempt.

Conclusion:

Although current data on the suicide risk of synthetic cannabis analogues are limited, there is growing evidence of relevant psychiatric effects after their use. Patients with serious mental disorders could prove particularly vulnerable to these drugs, resulting in severe behavioral changes and self-harm.

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