Two synthetic drugs pose threat to public health. What are they?

Categories: Drug Testing News, Health News

Two synthetic drugs pose threat to public health. What are they?

Sep 19 2016

Two synthetic drugs pose threat to public health. What are they?

Cannabinoids and Cathinones are the latest synthetic drugs to bring on warnings issued by the Federal Government. 


Cannabinoids is often referred to as synthetic marijuana, K2 or Spice and can be found in legal retail outlets sold under “herbal incense” or “potpourri”.

  • Synthetic cannabinoids, contain approximately 120 known chemical variants with 50 or so of these chemical either regulated by U.S. law, or that are illegal in the United States.
  • China produces the bulk of synthetic marijuana where the “recipe” is altered to circumvent U.S. Law.
  • Cannabinoids are typically sold in packets which carry one of more than 500 brand names commonly referred to as Spice, Ace of Spades, Demon, King John Pot Pourri, Mojo and Mr. Bad Guy.
  • These products are labeled “not for human consumption” therefore, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Cannabinoids and other synthetic drugs can also be purchased via internet
  • click here. To view a detailed list of over 500 Cannabinoids.

What are the risks of cannabinoids?

Some side effects of synthetic cannabinoids consist of severe agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures, hallucinations and dilated pupils. In some cases, suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions have also been reported.


Cathinones, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the leaves of khat (the leaves of an Arabian shrub, which are chewed (or drunk as an infusion) as a stimulant. Khat is used in combination with other chemicals to make a drug similar to amphetamines.

  • Synthetic cathinone products often consist of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and methylone.
  • Similar to cannabinoids, most cathinones are produced in China. They are referred to as “bath salts,” and distributed under trade names such as ‘Ivory Wave’, ‘White Lightning’ and ‘Vanilla Sky.’ They are also labeled as “not for human consumption” to avoid penalty under the Analogue Enforcement Act.
  • Generally, Bath Salts are snorted, but some smoke it, inject it or ingest it as a pill.

What’s the risk of cathinones?

• The risk in the synthetic cathinones come from a complete lack of knowledge as to what and how much of any substance is in the drug.  It is very easy for someone to overdose on a cathinone.

Similar to the adverse effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, synthetic cathinone use is most commonly associated with an increased heart rate, blood pressure, chest pain, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and violent behavior.

What is the government doing?

The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, which is part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, placed 26 types of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)  – meaning they are illegal to possess or distribute. The problem with legislating against synthetic drugs is that they are altered so quickly.

For information regarding the effects of drug abuse – Click Here
For  information on a drug free work place – Click Here
For  information on substance abuse programs – Click Here
For information on DOT Drug / Alcohol Testing requirements – Click Here

John Burgos, CPC
Business Development Manager
(800) 221-4291
Accredited Drug Testing Inc
Health Screening USA Inc