Sickle Cell Crisis Complicated by Synthetic Cannabinoid Abuse: A Case Report

Crystal Y. Zheng, Caterina P. Minniti, Mark H. Chaitowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We describe a case of delirium occurring in a hospitalized sickle cell patient. Following admission for a typical pain crisis, the patient continued to report unrelieved pain with marked agitation for several days, despite escalating doses of opioid analgesia, and ultimately required intubation following development of acute chest syndrome (ACS). After some delay, it was discovered that he had been using a synthetic cannabinoid (K2) which may have precipitated his pain crisis and, with hindsight, explained his prolonged period of delirium. Delayed recognition was due to multiple factors, notably the absence of an index of suspicion for this novel drug, the presence of alternate explanations for the patient’s altered mental status, and the fact that reliable laboratory screening for synthetic cannabinoids is currently not widely available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 4 2016


  • Delirium
  • K2
  • sickle cell disease
  • spice
  • synthetic cannabinoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


Dive into the research topics of 'Sickle Cell Crisis Complicated by Synthetic Cannabinoid Abuse: A Case Report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this