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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

Pink: Stronger Than Heroin, But Legal In Most States

Oct. 2016 – Pink, better known by chemists as U-47700, is eight times stronger than heroin, and is part of a family of deadly synthetic opioids, all of them more powerful than heroin, that includes ifentanyl, carfentanil and furanyl fentanyl. [Full Story]

2 Utah Teens Overdose On Synthetic Opioid U-47700

Sept. 2016 – Just as the Drug Enforcement Agency announced plans to criminalize U-47700, two eighth graders in Utah have reportedly overdosed from the synthetic drug. While a specific number of overdoses caused by U-47700 has not been determined — because the drug is considered new and isn’t easily recognizable on autopsy examinations — the drug is predicted to be linked to nearly 50 deaths in the Unites States so far. [Full Story]

An Even Deadlier Opioid, Carfentanil, Is Hitting The Streets
Sept. 2016 – A powerful drug that’s normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil. [Full Story]
Progress against Chinese chemists selling dangerous synthetic drugs in US
Sept. 2016 – Synthetic cannabinoids — commonly known as K2 or spice — stimulants similar to cocaine or MDMA and the notoriously dangerous synthetic known as flakka have fallen dramatically from they were last summer. [Full Story]
Florida Zombie Drug Flakka: Everything You Need to Know
Aug. 2016 – Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Austin Harrouff, a 19-year-old Florida State University student, stabbed a married couple to death in their Jupiter, Florida home, and then gnawed at the male victim’s face. Authorities believe Harrouff was high on flakka, a highly addictive designer drug that causes paranoia and psychosis. Flakka, sometimes known as gravel, is closely related to bath salts, a synthetic cathinone that police linked to the infamous face-eating attack in Miami four years ago. [Full Story]
24 Hospitalized From Drug Overdoses After Consuming THC-Laced Candies at Ohio Music Festival
Aug. 2016 – Synthetic cannabinoids can be anywhere from two to 100 times more potent than natural THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This general unpredictability is due to the unknown chemical composition of these drugs, which, the National Institute on Drug Abuse noted, may change from batch to batch. [Full Story]
‘Darkness’ drug sends 20 people to ERs with violent outbursts
August 2016 – HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Nearly two dozen people went to emergency rooms in two days after using a potent batch of synthetic marijuana. Dr. Anthony Guarracino, a PinnacleHealth emergency room physician, said the hospital received about 20 patients in a 48-hour span with similar reactions to synthetic marijuana. “It stimulates your heart rate, drives your blood pressure up, and basically makes you psychotic,” he said. [Full Story]  
Dangerous Drugs: Why Synthetic-Cannabinoid Overdoses Are On the Rise
July 2016 – Overdoses from synthetic cannabinoids are on the rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes called K2 or spice, were first found in the U.S. by authorities in 2008, according to the CDC. Since 2010, the number of overdoses from these compounds has increased each year, according to the new report, published today (July 14). [Full Story]

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