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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 36.4%
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids 11.3%
  • Hallucinogens 4.8%
  • Salvia 4.4%
  • MDMA (Ecstasy) 3.8%
  • Cocaine 2.7%

Source: 2012 National Institute on Drug Abuse

In The News

Deadly High: How synthetic drugs are killing kids
December 2014 – In the past four years, more than 300 synthetic designer drugs with names such as Spice, N-bombe and K2, have flooded into the United States. A new CNN report special reveals several stories of lives lost to synthetic drug use and what you need to know. “It’s never going to be done. Christian was — he was a child, he was our flesh and blood, he was someone who was so important to us that we would’ve given our lives for him,” Keith Bjerk said. “It is now our job to get the word out there to the rest of the people so that no other families have to go through this kind of thing and to honor our son.” [Full story]
Dangerous 'n-bomb' drug circulating in Minnesota schools, causing alert
N bomb drug in Minnesota schoolsNovember 2014 – Officials with the Lakeville School District are warning parents and students about the presence of a synthetic drug among students that has already proven to be fatal for one Minnesota teenager. The drug, technically known as 25i-NBOMe, is a synthetic hallucinogen with properties similar to LSD – but “much more potent,” according to Lakeville Police Chief Jeffrey Long. [Full story]
Federal authorities single out North Dakota investigation into synthetic drug deaths of teens
North Dakota drug caseOctober 2014 – The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday honored law enforcement officials who investigated and prosecuted the region’s first large-scale synthetic drug case following the overdose deaths of two Grand Forks-area teenagers. The synthetic drug case involved 15 defendants, all of whom were convicted. The investigation began after Christian Bjerk, 18, of Grand Forks, and Elijah Stai, 17, of Park Rapids, Minnesota, died within a week of each other in June 2012 after ingesting the hallucinogens. Three other young people were hospitalized. [Full story]

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