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Synthetic Cannabinoids

Cannabinoid chemicals are sprayed onto plant material and smoked to appear like marijuana.
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Synthetic Cathinones

Often known as “bath salts,” cathinones contain amphetamine-like stimulants that can be ingested orally, injected or snorted.
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What is Vapor?


Liquid forms of synthetic cannabinoids are ingested using a vapor pen or electronic cigarette that produces little to no odor.
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Synthetic drug facts

Synthetic drug facts

Synthetic drugs include any substance that aims to mimic the effects of illegal chemicals and may contain stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic properties.

What to look for

What to look for

Synthetic drug packaging can range from plastic tubes or bottles to brightly colored foil packets.

What to say

What to say

If you have concern that someone you know may be using synthetic drugs, it is important address the issue directly, with the individual’s best interest in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions


Get the answers to your synthetic drug related questions.

Synthetic Cannabinoid (yellow) and Cathinone (black) Exposure Calls

Hennepin Regional Poison Control Center, January 2010 – June 2014


Past-Year Use of Illicit Drugs by High School Seniors (percent)

  • Marijuana/Hashish 35.1%
  • Adderall 6.8%
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids 5.8%
  • Hallucinogens 4.0%
  • Salvia 1.8%
  • MDMA (Ecstasy) 3.6%
  • Inhalants 1.9%

Source: 2014 National Institute on Drug Abuse

In The News

Teen found in marsh dies, synthetic drug suspected

Oct. 2015
-Authorities say synthetic drugs could be the cause of a 17-year-old’s death, after he was found face-up in a marsh having a seizure. [Full story]

K2, a Potent Drug, Casts a Shadow Over an East Harlem Block

K2, a Potent Drug, Casts a Shadow Over East Harlem BlockSept. 2015 – The people here on this stretch of 125th Street in East Harlem may change, but the drug remains the same: K2, also called synthetic marijuana, a potent mix of herbs and chemicals that has become widely used among homeless people in New York City. [Full story]

Duluth seeing resurgence of synthetic drug overdoses
August 2015 – An increasing number of people are being treated in Duluth’s emergency rooms after using a synthetic drug with an unknown chemical composition, authorities say. Although no one has died from the drug in Duluth, patients are ending up in intensive care units, needing breathing tubes and central lines, with continual observation by nurses due to low heart rates and low blood pressure until they recover, said Elisabeth Bilden, a medical toxicologist at Essentia Health. [Full story]

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