A case of acute cerebral ischemia following inhalation of a synthetic cannabinoid

M. Takematsu, R. S. Hoffman, L. S. Nelson, J. M. Schechter, J. H. Moran, S. W. Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Case report. A 33-year-old man with no significant medical history presented at the emergency department with right-sided weakness and aphasia. He had smoked a synthetic cannabinoid (SC) product called "WTF" prior to the onset of symptoms. Physical examination showed right hemiparesis, dysarthria, and aphasia. Laboratory evaluation, electrocardiography, and computed tomography (CT) of the head were unremarkable. Following administration of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator, his symptoms improved. A repeat head CT showed acute infarction in the left insular cortex. His hypercoagulability panel was unremarkable, and the patient was discharged neurologically intact. Urine toxicology results were unremarkable. Analysis of the product by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) procedure confirmed the presence of a synthetic cannabinoid known as XLR-11.

Conclusion. XLR-11 has previously been associated with acute kidney injury in humans. However, there are no reports of it causing acute cerebral ischemic events. The close temporal association between XLR-11 inhalation and his stroke is concerning. Acute cerebral infarction may occur after XLR-11 use in healthy patients.

Objective. Synthetic cannabinoids are increasingly used in the United States as marijuana substitutes. However, reports of severe toxicity, resulting from their use, are limited. We present the case of acute cerebral infarction following synthetic cannabinoid inhalation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-975
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Toxicology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Ischemic stroke
  • JWH-018
  • Marijuana
  • Synthetic cannabinoid
  • XLR-11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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