Two days after trying a new CBD oil extract to treat her chronic pain, a 56-year-old woman developed an awful rash. Reports Vice in this article
Her primary care physician prescribed antihistamines and prednisone, a common steroid used to treat inflammation. She went home. The rash got worse. From a local emergency room, she went to a hospital burn unit. There, the rash went out of control.
Angry red lesions broke out over 30 percent of her body, including her eyes and groin. Skin peeled from her arms and back. Doctors administered more antibiotics, more anti-inflammatory steroids. They didn’t work. After a month of suffering, she was dead from septic shock, the final result of a rare and extremely serious allergic reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), according to an account published February in Case Reports in Ophthalmological Medicine.
Described by the Mayo Clinic as both “rare and unpredictable,” Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is typically triggered by “a medication, an infection or both.” According to the British NHS, among the “medicines that most commonly cause” the affliction is the “oxicam” family of anti-inflammatory drugs. The woman had been taking meloxicam for arthritis, but that’s not what killed her, according to the case report, written by a group of eye doctors from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. She had already been on meloxicam without any reported complications, after all.
What set off the fatal allergic reaction, they claim, was the product she had tried. It was a new brand of cannabidiol (CBD) oil she was taking for back pain; she had previously taken other CBD brands without issue. Though the new CBD oil she used was not tested for impurities, either some unknown ingredient in the oil or some reaction triggered by the CBD was the most likely cause of the allergic reaction and subsequent death, the doctors wrote, published under the title “Commercial Cannabis Oil–Induced Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.”
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