All You Need To Know About Synthetic Drugs

The United States has seen a proliferation of new designer drugs in recent years. Authorities have expressed concern over numerous reports of users being rushed to hospitals for emergency care after ingesting some form of these substances. The largest user group has been identified to be teenagers and young adults who purchase these drugs over the internet.

Designer drugs refer to a class of illicit products that are synthetically manufactured in a laboratory. They are intended to induce the same pharmacological effects of existing controlled substances. Makers of these drugs combine the active ingredients with a variety of legally distributed household commodities such as cleaning agents and poisons. The resulting preparation often contains a number of toxic elements. The substances are also not easily detected using standard drug testing methods.

Most of these drugs may produce psychoactive or psychedelic effects that cause hallucinations and euphoric states. Other kinds act as stimulants and deliver effects similar to those of amphetamines.

As they are relatively new, more research studies have to be conducted to determine their efficacy and the extent of damage that can develop from their consumption.

The increasing number of designer drugs has put Americans at risk. The 2013 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) revealed that the abuse of illicit substances continues to grow and more synthetic drugs find their way in the market

What are designer drugs?

Designer drugs are substances that are manufactured in a laboratory. The manufacturers change the properties of a drug using the tools of chemistry. These substances may not be subjected to quality control standards or governmental oversight.

Designer drugs are manufactured in a different way other drugs are normally created. Should the government regulate an ingredient or element, the manufacturers would change things again so as not to be arrested. But just like other drugs, designer drugs are capable of altering the functions of the human brain.

Where did designer drugs originate?

Designer drugs are actually not new. Back in the 19th century, a lot of these kinds of drugs were being designed. In 1803, German pharmacist F.W. Serturner separated morphine from opium. In 1855, a chemist named Edeleano isolated cocaine from the coca bush. The isolation and combination of drugs have resulted to the production of new uppers, downers, tranquilizers, and painkillers.

Today, these substances are very common and popular. However, they were once unknown substances that no one dared to study about.

The most popular example of designer drugs is ecstasy. This substance was the result of the synthesis of MDA and MMDA, both illegal drugs. Derived from the oil of nutmeg, these two substances can have various adverse effects such as headache, dizziness, and abnormally fast heart rate, to name just a few.

After ecstasy was outlawed, a new alteration of MMDA called “eve” was born.

How lethal are designer drugs?

As new drugs are discovered, drug manufacturers will continue to change the form of the drug and the health of the public will continue to be at risk.

Take the case of fentanyl, which is also known as “China White.” This substance has around 1,400 possible chemical alterations. While some of them are used for medicinal purposes in the operating room, fentanyl used in the streets as a synthetic heroin has been linked to more than a hundred deaths on a yearly basis due to its strength. This substance is so lethal that it can be placed on the head of a pin to kill 50 people.

Another highly lethal designer drug is MPTP. This heroin-like drug has resulted in more than 400 cases of Parkinson’s disease, which can permanently disable those that are affected.

These efforts to alter the composition of a drug can produce the same effects and dangers of illegal drugs. Drug manufacturers are doing this to prevent prosecution.

The Growing Synthetic Drug Menace

In July 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law banning designer drugs to cover 26 chemicals commonly used in manufacturing synthetic drugs. Even then, designer drugs continued to become popular. In the last four years, more than 300 different designer drugs have entered the market and wreaked havoc in communities.

Most suppliers have the ability to change the chemical formula of a drug so that it will not contain illegal chemicals, thereby allowing them to sell drugs legally. Most drugs of this kind are constantly changing form and remain unregulated in the online market. It would take government initiatives in countries that manufacture drugs to stop the manufacture and distribution of these synthetic drugs.

If not regulated online, the public can easily access these synthetic drugs. Local government leaders must take the necessary steps to counter the spread of synthetic drugs. One effective measure is by educating their constituents about the dangers of synthetic drugs. They can also provide proper addiction and rehabilitation treatment, and making individuals and establishments that sell illegal substances liable.

According to recent statistics, a total of 200 search and arrest warrants related to synthetic drugs have been issued by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and from that number, 150 were arrested. Aside from that, roughly $200 million in cash and assets were seized. These figures were derived from 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey of the Drug Abuse Network.

Who is prone to abusing designer drugs?

The following people are likely to abuse synthetic drugs:

Young teens

Teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old are susceptible to synthetic drug abuse. They are likely to try out these drugs due to their gullibility and curiosity.

Recovering addicts

People who are recovering from drug abuse will look at synthetic versions as an alternative to illegal drugs. Given the volatile potency of designer drugs, they could be trying something more potent than what they are recovering from.

Convicted Felons

Synthetic drugs are very accessible in prison and the temptation to try them out can be very strong among convicted individuals.

Most Commonly Used Designer Drugs

Here are some of the most common kinds of designer drugs, and how each substance can affect human health:

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids are falsely marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. Popularly known as Spice or K2, these substances are sold together with other tobacco products. These designer drugs also go by popular names such as Yucatan Fire, Skunk, and Moon Rocks.

Synthetic cannabinoids are sold in huge amounts online to dealers in the United States who in turn repackage them for individual selling. This is considered the second most abused drug among high school students next to marijuana. They contain harmful chemical additives that may lead to rapid heart rate, paranoia, vomiting, hallucinations, and heart attack due to a limited supply of blood to the heart.

Since they have a “not for human consumption” label, they are not covered by any legal regulations that govern drugs, even though they are more potent than illegal drugs.

All cannabinoids, which include the synthetic compounds in Spice, are classified together with marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. However, manufacturers of the drug have managed to stay legal by slightly altering the chemical structure in order to create a new compound, which has not yet been classified as illegal.

Because the chemical composition of synthetic marijuana is constantly changing, there is very little data on its effects on the human body. However, those who have abused the synthetic drug have reported various symptoms such as rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations.

Aside from that, synthetic cannabinoids have also been known to increase blood pressure. In a few instances, it has also been linked to heart attacks.

Synthetic cannabinoids like K2 and K3 Spice can be identified using immunoassay screening and confirmed by chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Psychedelics

Alpha-Methytryptamine (AMT) was first developed in the 1960s as an anti-depressant. As a psychedelic and stimulant drug, the drug is known for creating a feeling of euphoria and hallucinations just like MDMA or LSD even though the chemicals are structurally unrelated. Although still legal in Canada and the UK, aMT was permanently classified as a Schedule 1 drug. It is easily accessible online where it is being sold as a “health supplement.”

Another good example of a psychedelic drug is N-bomb, found in the drug LSD. These are lethal hallucinogens that come in either liquid or powdered form.

Synthetic psychedelics can also be inhaled, injected, or used as a suppository. Small quantities of the drug can last for more than 12 hours.

Synthetic Cocaine

Synthetic cocaine is readily available and legal in most countries. It is being sold on the Internet as a “research chemical” or as a “plant food.” It is known by several names such as Mind Melt, Amplified, or Mint Mania.

Synthetic Cathinones

Commonly known as bath salts, synthetic cathinones go by different names such as Arctic Blast, Blue Silk, and Monkey Dust. Bath salts have emerged as a serious and growing public health and safety concern.

When in crystalline form, it is similar to amphetamines and may lead to elevated blood pressure, agitation, hallucinations, and excited delirium.

Synthetic Opioids

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and ketamine are easily accessible. They are usually injected but ketamine comes in smoke or sniff varieties. They are associated with unpredictable and more severe side effects than the opioids where they came from.

Ketamine is popularly called Vitamin K on the street.

Synthetic Sedatives

Synthetic sedatives are known by different street names such as barbies, blue devils, pink ladies, sleepers, and barbiturates. They are classified as depressant-type drugs. They are used to alleviate symptoms of tensions and anxiety by bringing the user into a calm and relaxed state.

Synthetic sedatives are classified as Class B narcotics.

Synthetic Piperazines

Originally developed for the treatment of parasitic infections, synthetic piperazines have allegedly caused the euphoric feeling to the users just like amphetamine and MDMA. They are usually marketed as herbal ecstasy.

Synthetic Dissociatives

Dissociatives go by many street names: acid, blotter, doses, hits, microdots, among others. LSD is a good example of this drug. It is a clear, white, odorless, and water-soluble material derived from lysergic acid.

Dissociative drugs may be used as a medical anesthetic. It has euphoric properties that can make the user addicted to it. This type of drugs can be gaseous, liquid, or as a powder, and is designed for medicinal and culinary purposes.

Synthetic Androgens

Synthetic androgens have become infamous as performance-enhancing drugs. The most common example is anabolic androgenic steroids. To veer away from prosecution, these substances are marketed as nutritional supplements.

In the absence of clinical studies, there is little information about the pharmacological effects and metabolism of unapproved steroids. Strict regulations and improved education are needed.

Synthetic Empathogens

From the name itself, synthetic empathogens produce experiences of empathy or sympathy such as oneness, relatedness, or emotional openness. They are psychoactive drugs that are different from hallucinogens, amphetamine, or stimulants.

Synthetic Nootropics

Also called smart drugs, nootropics are designed for enhancing cognitive functions, particularly executive, memory, creativity, or motivation of healthy individuals. In 2015, sales of cognition-enhancing supplements breached the US$1 billion mark.

Synthetic Stimulants

These are commonly sold as “bath salts” and are often found in several retail products. These are synthetic derivatives of cathinone, a central nervous system stimulant that is an active chemical found in the khat plant.

Synthetic stimulants are known in the market as mephedrone and MDPV (3-4 methylene-dioxypyrovalerone). These are sold under the brand names Red Dove, Blue Silk, Drone, Energy-1, Ivory Wave, White Knight, Ocean Burst, White Lightening, and Stardust. These drugs are sold in powder form and placed in small plastic or foil packages that range from 200 to 500 milligrams per pack under different brand names.

Both mephedrone and MDPV are fine white or off-white in color. These are usually ingested by snorting or sniffing, but they can also be taken orally or mixed with a liquid substance to become a solution and injected directly into the vein.

Symptoms of synthetic stimulant use include:

  • Agitation
  • Chest pains
  • Decreased ability to think
  • Delusional
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired perception
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Nosebleed
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Reduced motor control
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sweating

As of October 2011, DEA published an order in the Federal Register of its emergency scheduling of synthetic stimulants used to make bath salts. The temporary scheduling will remain in effect until further studies are performed to determine if the chemicals should be permanently controlled. They are currently designated as Schedule 1 substances under the Controlled Substances Act, which signifies that they have a high potential for abuse without any accepted medical use for treatment.

List of the Newest Designer Drugs

Here are some of the newest designer drugs being abused in the U.S.:

Krokodil

Krokodil is the street name for desomorphine. It is a derivative of morphine and is known to produce the same effects as opioids which include sedation and analgesia. It is known to be a fast-acting analgesic whose results last for a shorter duration compared to other opioids. Krokodil is 8 to 10 times more potent than morphine.

Krokodil is produced by cooking codeine with other toxic substances such as paint thinner, gasoline or lighter fluid, hydrochloric acid, iodine, and phosphorus from matchboxes.

Legality

According to this document by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), krokodil/desomorphine is “controlled as a Schedule I substance of the Controlled Substances Act”.

Addiction

Users favor the drug because it induces a “high” that lasts from 90 to 120 minutes. The short duration of the euphoric effects encourages frequent dosing, which increases the risk of addiction.

Symptoms and Dangers

When injected, it can cause serious damage to the skin surrounding the vein which can develop green or brown scaly patches that resemble the skin of a crocodile, hence the name.

The affected parts of the body may also develop gangrene, as well as widespread necrosis of tissue, bone, and muscles. Long-term users sometimes require limb amputation because of these effects. As such, krokodil has been popularly referred to as the “flesh-eating zombie drug.”

Other adverse long-term outcomes include blood clots, blood poisoning, bone infections, pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia, liver and kidney damage, rotting gums, loss of memory, and brain damage.

The withdrawal symptoms of krokodil are more severe than heroin. These can include an unbearable pain that can last for a month.

Detection and Testing

Most krokodil preparations are found to be mixed with other illicit or toxic chemicals, which make detection almost impossible to do. In theory, desomorphine in its pure form may be detected in the bloodstream within a few hours after the last use, and up to three days through urine. However, to date, standard drug testing procedures cannot detect krokodil or desomorphine.

One quick method to speculate krokodil use by a person is the presence of scaly skin or tissue infections.

Treatment

Doctors claim that addiction to krokodil is the hardest to cure. Patients who manage to recover are left to suffer permanent damages including speech impediment and erratic movements. Meanwhile, pain associated with krokodil abuse must be treated with extremely potent tranquilizers to keep the patients from passing out.

Because there are no known pharmaceutical or medical treatments, the best way to stop krokodil addiction is to quit using the drug. If this does not work, the person addicted to krokodil will have to undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

2C-P

This is a new drug that is becoming a preference among party and club goers. 2C-P is a slang for its active component 2,5-dimethoxy-4-propylphenethylamine. It is a synthetically produced psychedelic phenethylamine, sold as white powder or crystals. Other makers manufacture it in a blotter paper form similar to LSD. 2C-P is typically consumed by snorting though some users ingest it orally.

Legality

2C-P is included as a Schedule I drug based on the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.

Addiction

2C-P produces strong hallucinations or a “trip”, during which the user experiences intensified visuals, delusion, time distortion, shifting sensations, bursts of energy, enhanced perception of color and sound, stimulation, increased sociability, and sexual arousal, among others. The effects can begin slowly and peak for about 5 to 10 hours. The overall experience may last for up to 20 hours.

Despite its euphoric effects, 2C-P does not appear to be physically addictive or have the potential to increase the user’s drug tolerance. However, continued use may develop a psychological addiction in the person.

Symptoms and Dangers

The immediate adverse reactions include nausea, vomiting, jaw clenching, muscle spasms, anxiety, paranoia, mental confusion, inability to speak, motor impairment, palpitations, and elevated blood pressure.

There have been reports of emergency hospital visits resulting from the use of 2C-P. Some users required CPR and defibrillation to be resuscitated. In more severe cases, users required hospitalization for several days in order to recover from the effects of the overdose.

Detection and Testing

To date, no methods are available to test for 2C-P use.

Treatment

As with any drug addiction, rehabilitation may help a person struggling with 2C-P addiction. The rehab program will usually include a detoxification process that rids the addict of 2C-P.

The National Institutes of Health said in a review report that there have been no antidotes developed to counter the effects of 2C-P. However, medical experts and research team are continually on the lookout for potential medical treatment. In the meantime, treatment options to address the drug’s adverse effects such as hyperthermia and aggressive tendencies are already available.

Butane hash oil

Butane hash oil (BHO) is also known by other names such as honey oil, dab, shatter, or earwax. It is one of the most recent and most dangerous additions to the product forms of marijuana.

The use of BHO is becoming increasingly popular among marijuana users because of its potency. It also does not leave any lingering smoke scent. It can be smoked, vaped using an e-cigarette, or mixed with food such as brownies or cookies to produce “edibles.”

The substance derives its name from the process by which it is produced. To create BHO, marijuana leaves, stems, or flower buds are first stuffed into a tube. One end of the tube will be packed with some sort of filter to collect the by-product. The other end is injected with the butane solvent. Heating the marijuana plant produces a resin that is soon drained into a container.

Another way of producing BHO is by blowtorching the resulting resin and pressing the oil into metal. The vapor that is produced by this process is inhaled rapidly.

The entire procedure strips the marijuana off its other cannabinoids but retains the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Legality

While pure hash oil is considered legal in some U.S. states such as Oregon, the dangerous components and preparation of BHO make the substance illegal in the country. In fact, the federal government is on a constant crackdown on black markets and home-based butane hash oil makers.

Addiction

BHO can contain between 60 to 90 percent of THC, making it much more potent than hashish. It is said that it only takes a “dab” of BHO to get intense effects. There have been reports of first-time users who lost consciousness after inhaling the vapor.

Symptoms and Dangers

The most infamous danger of butane hash oil is experienced during preparation, mainly because of the use of the highly explosive butane.

The immediate signs of hash oil abuse include short-term memory loss, slurred speech, fatigue, impaired reasoning and judgment, slowed reaction time, and reduced motor skills. Those who abuse BHO can experience paranoia and hallucinations in addition to the other symptoms.

The butane residue can also cause harmful effects. Frequent exposure to butane can cause central nervous system problems.

Because BHO has higher concentrations of THC, the withdrawal symptoms are more severe. These include increased alertness, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, trembling, sweating, stomach cramps, and loss of appetite. The discomfort can linger for weeks and months.

Detection and Testing

Because its base component is THC, butane hash oil is detected pretty much the same way as any other marijuana product. Marijuana testing procedures include the following:

Treatment

The treatment approaches for BHO abuse disorder are the same as those implemented for marijuana addiction. They include detoxification and various forms of behavioral therapy.

Molly (MDMA)

Molly is derived from the term “molecular.” It is the street name for the crystalline powder form of MDMA, short for the compound called 3, 4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is a synthetic psychoactive drug that produces the combined effects of the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It is usually sold in capsule or tablet form that comes in various colors with cartoon drawings on them. The tablets are taken orally.

Molly is similar to Ecstasy (which is considered to be its predecessor), and is included in the class of substances called “party drugs.”

Legality

Molly/MDMA is considered a Psychotropic Schedule I drug by the federal government. As such, it is illegal for any person to use, distribute, or manufacture this drug.

Addiction

Molly promotes the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which induces a euphoric high that lasts between 4 to 6 hours. The drug is known to cause heightened positive feelings, emotional closeness, alertness, and increased sensitivity to music and light. This explains why it is favored by users who frequent clubs, raves, concerts, and festivals. Users are known to take a second dose as soon as the effects of the first dose begin to fade.

Symptoms and Dangers

The physical effects include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, muscle tension, teeth clenching, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, chills, sweating, overheating, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, anxiety, and agitation. When taken in high doses, it can cause elevated body temperature or hyperthermia which can lead to kidney, liver, and heart failure.

The upsurge in serotonin can deplete the brain of this chemical for long periods of time. This then triggers negative after-effects such as confusion, memory impairment, depression, insomnia, anxiety, and drug cravings. These symptoms can last for up to several days or weeks from the time of consumption.

Some studies have shown that the long-term effects of MDMA can produce changes in brain regions that are associated with cognition, emotion, and motor function.

Furthermore, MDMA creates false feelings of empathy and closeness coupled with sexual arousal. These effects encourage the user to engage in risky sexual behavior that can result in unwanted pregnancies. It can also increase the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Analyses of drug samples have confirmed that unlike Ecstasy that was prevalent in the past, the MDMA varieties being sold today are often adulterated with other substances that include caffeine, dextromethorphan, amphetamines, ketamine, methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine, and synthetic cathinones. The mixtures intensify the dangers of consuming the drug and place the user at an increased risk of developing several harmful physical effects.

Some users have reported tolerance of and dependence on the substance which indicate that it is potentially addictive. Among the known withdrawal effects of Molly are fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of focus, and depression.

Detection and Testing

When a person uses Molly, it may take up to 3 days to completely get rid of the drug metabolites in his system.

MDMA has been on the black market for a long time, leading many drug testing companies to develop products that can detect and test for Molly use. The most popular way of detecting MDMA use is through urine drug testing. Some of the products under this category include Eco II, T-Cup Integrated Test Cup, and iCup Drug Test Kits.

Treatment

MDMA addiction can be treated using the general approaches to drug abuse therapies. These include cognitive behavioral interventions and support recovery programs. Currently, there are no pharmacological treatments specifically designed to manage MDMA dependence.

Suboxone

Suboxone is a controlled substance that contains two drugs namely buprenorphine, a synthetic opiate and an opioid antagonist called naloxone. This combination drug is used in the treatment of opioid addiction.

It usually manufactured as a sublingual, which is administered by placing the sheet of film under the tongue where it is dissolved and slowly absorbed. It should not be directly inhaled or injected into the veins as these methods can result in sudden death.

Legality

Suboxone is legal as prescribed medication to help people with withdrawal effect of opioid addiction. It is listed as a Schedule III drug, and so it may be prescribed by medical professionals. It’s considered illegal to use suboxone other than its intended use.

Addiction

Suboxone acts as a depressant and an analgesic. Its pain-relieving effects are 20 to 30 times more effective than morphine. It also produces euphoric effects that can last for up to 8 hours, according to drugabuse.com.

Buprenorphine has been determined to be an addictive substance, and should, therefore, be kept out of reach of recovering addicts or people who are prone to drug abuse.

Symptoms and Dangers

Adverse reactions to suboxone include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headache, memory loss, confusion, profuse sweating, dry mouth, loss of appetite, jaundice, itchiness, decreased libido, constipation, urinary retention, and respiratory depression.

Taking suboxone in conjunction with other CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines or alcohol can result in fatal overdose.

While it is used to treat opioid addiction, the drug itself is addictive. Suddenly quitting the drug can cause withdrawal effects such as constipation, diarrhea, joint pain, insomnia, dilated pupils, and irritability. Symptoms of Suboxone abuse may begin within 48 hours from the cessation of use and can last for a week.

Detection and Testing

When taken in typical doses, buprenorphine may be detected in the person’s system for up to 10 days from last administration.

Although testing for suboxone is not common in workplaces and other sensitive levels, products for testing and detection of suboxone (or its active components) are available in the market. For instance, iCup 9-Panel Urine Drug Test has the ability to detect some of the most commonly abused substances, including buprenorphine.

Treatment

Ideally, suboxone use should be tapered off gradually, as directed by the physician.

Suboxone dependence often requires enrollment in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program where some pharmacological preparations such as benzodiazepines, clonidine, anti-inflammatory, and pain relief drugs are administered to relieve and manage the withdrawal effects. The patient undergoes an intense detoxification program to cleanse the body from the substance. This is followed by various psychotherapy approaches that include both individual and group counseling sessions. In most cases, an aftercare or maintenance therapy that consists of participation in 12-step programs or support groups is necessary to achieve effective rehabilitation.

Flakka

The name “flakka” is derived from the Hispanic colloquial word that translates into “a beautiful, elegant woman who charms all she meets.” In Spanish, the word 'flaca' translates to “skinny woman,” according to this article.

Flakka is a synthetically produced psychoactive drug that is designed to mimic the effects of cathinones. The active ingredient in the substance is a compound called alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP), which induces a euphoric high that is sought by its users.

The drug usually comes in crystalline rock form and is often called “gravel.” It can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or vaped through an e-cigarette.

Legality

Flakka or α-PVP is a Schedule I drug – most notably a “synthetic cathinone” – based on updated rules by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Addiction

When ingested, it causes the release of high levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain that get locked in for a few hours. This produces a condition that psychologists refer to as an “excited delirium” where the user experiences increased alertness, hyperactivity, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.

The flakka user is likely to display aberrant behavior such as running off the streets, ripping his clothes off, and acting violently. The drug induces an adrenaline rush that gives him abnormal strength. As a result, he may become very difficult to restrain.

Flakka is believed to be more addictive than cocaine and using it can lead to both physical and psychological dependence.

Symptoms and Dangers

The effects of flakka can last between 3 to 4 hours. Within this period, the body temperature can increase to as high as 105° F, which may trigger metabolic problems that can lead to kidney damage and renal failure. Additional adverse effects include seizures, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure levels, cardiomyopathy, and cardiac arrest. When it is taken in high doses, the psychotic state is prolonged and unless medical attention is immediately administered, the user can die from the resulting complications.

Detection and Testing

Because of the newness of the drug, testing for flakka are still rare. Research for reliable testing and detection methods for Flakka continue to be conducted.

Treatment

The immediate treatment of flakka abuse disorder necessitates the administration of benzodiazepines to neutralize the violent behavior. To normalize the blood pressure, low-dose norepinephrine is administered intravenously over several hours.

Patients are recommended to undergo group and individual counseling, contingency management, and cognitive behavioral therapy. In severe cases of physiological dependence, certain medications are administered to reduce drug cravings, psychosis, and agitation.

Emerging Synthetic Drugs

Meanwhile, here are more dangerous drugs that are gaining traction and notoriety:

Acetylfentanyl

Disguised as oxycodone, aceteylfentanyl is a potent painkiller that has five times more potency than heroin. Its symptoms include lethargy, disorientation, shallow breathing, slow heart rate, and low blood pressure.

MT-45

This drug is a piperazine derivative with potent analgesic activity similar to morphine.

Phenazepam

This substance is a benzodiazepine that has anxiolytic, euphoric, anti-convulsant, amnestic, muscle relaxant, and hypnotic effects.

Para-methylaminorex

As a synthetic stimulant, this designer drug is related to 4-methyaminorex and pemoline. It is a new and potentially potent kind of synthetic drug.

Methoxetamine

This is a recreational drug, a structural analog of ketamine with that can cause hallucinations.

Alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone

This drug is a psychomotor stimulant that comes with cardiotoxicity, violent behavior, and show of psychotic behavior.

Para-methoxymethylamphethamine (ppma)

Used as a substitute for ecstasy, this stimulant and psychedelic recreational drug has a hallucinogenic effect and can lead to a fatal rise in temperature.

Synthetic Drug Compound Table

The following table contains a comprehensive list of synthetic drugs that users abuse. Each compound is listed under its most common name, along with other names it’s known by and some information about it, including if it has been found as an ingredient in synthetic drugs and if it is illegal or banned anywhere.

This is not meant to be a definitive list, but rather a resource for people wanting to know the scope of synthetic substances that are available for potential abuse.


Drug Compound

Info

1-Butyl-3-(2-methoxybenzoyl)indole

A benzoylindole type synthetic cannabinoid.

1-Butyl-3-(4-methoxybenzoyl)indole

A benzoylindole type synthetic cannabinoid.

1-Pentyl-3-(2-methoxybenzoyl)indole

A benzoylindole type synthetic cannabinoid.

2-Isopropyl-5-methyl-1-(2,6-dihydroxy-4-nonylphenyl)cyclohex-1-ene

An analgesic compound which is a cannabinoid agonist.

3,4-Dimethylmethcathinone

Aka 3,4-DMMC, it is a stimulant drug first reported in 2010 as a designer drug analog of mephedrone, apparently produced in response to the banning of mephedrone. It is illegal in some places.

5-Fluoropentyl-3-pyridinoylindole

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist that has been found in synthetic marijuana smoking blends.

5F-PB-22

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist that has been found in synthetic marijuana smoking blends.

9-nor-9β-Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol

Aka HHC, it is a synthetic cannabinoid derivative which resulted from early modifications to the structure of THC. An obscure derivative (C8)-CP 47,497 was found to have been sold as the active ingredient in the synthetic marijuana product Spice.

A-40174

Aka SP-1, it is an analgesic drug which acts as a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist.

A-41988

Aka BW29Y, it is an analgesic drug which acts as a cannabinoid agonist.

A-42574

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

A-796,260

A drug that acts as a potent and selective cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist.

A-834,735

A drug that acts as a potent cannabinoid receptor full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

A-836,339

A drug that acts as a potent cannabinoid receptor full agonist. It is selective for CB2.

A-955,840

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

AB-001

Aka 1-pentyl-3-(1-adamantoyl)indole, it is a designer drug that was found as an ingredient in synthetic cannabis smoking blends.

AB-005

Chemical name; [1-[(1-methyl-2-piperidinyl)methyl]-1H-indol-3-yl](2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropyl)-methanone, it is a designer drug offered by online vendors as a cannabimimetic agent.

AB-FUBINACA

A drug that acts as a potent agonist for the cannabinoid receptors. It has been identified as an ingredient in synthetic marijuana smoking products.

Abnormal cannabidiol

A synthetic regioisomer of cannabidiol, which unlike most other cannabinoids produces vasodilator effects, lowers blood pressure, and induces cell migration, cell proliferation and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in microglia, but without producing any psychoactive effects.

AB-PINACA

A compound that has been identified as a component of synthetic marijuana products.

ACEA

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

ACPA

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

ADB-FUBINACA

A designer drug identified in synthetic marijuana blends.

ADBICA

A designer drug identified in synthetic marijuana blends.

AKB48

Aka APINACA, it is a drug that acts as a reasonably potent agonist for the cannabinoid receptors and has been identified as an ingredient in synthetic marijuana smoking blends. It is illegal in some countries.

 

 

AM-087

An analgesic CB1 agonist around 100x more potent than THC itself.

AM-251

An inverse agonist at the CB1 cannabinoid receptor.

AM-281

N-(morpholin-4-yl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide

AM-356

Aka Methanandamide, it is a synthetically created stable chiral analog of anandamide and its effects have been observed to act on the cannabinoid receptors, specifically on CB1 receptors.

AM-374

Also known as palmitylsulfonyl fluoride.

AM-381

Also known as stearylsulfonyl fluoride.

AM-404

Also known as N-arachidonoylaminophenol.

AM-411

Produces similar effects to other cannabinoid agonists such as pain relief, sedation, and combatting anxiety.

AM-630

Aka (6-Iodopravadoline), it is a drug that acts as a potent and selective inverse agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB2.

AM-661

1-(N-methyl-2-piperidine)methyl-2-methyl-3-(2-iodo)benzoylindole

AM-678

Aka JWH-018 (1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole), it is acts as a full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2cannabinoid receptors and has been used in synthetic marijuana.

AM-679

A drug that acts as a moderately potent agonist for the cannabinoid receptors.

AM-694

Aka (1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(2-iodobenzoyl)indole) is a drug that acts as a potent and selective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB1.

AM-855

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist.

AM-881

A chlorine-substituted stereoisomer of anandamide.

AM-883

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

AM-905

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist.

AM-906

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist.

AM-919

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid receptor agonist. It is a derivative of HU-210.

AM-926

A potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It is a derivative of HU-210

AM-938

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid receptor agonist. It is a derivative of HU-210.

AM-1116

A dimethylated stereoisomer of anandamide.

AM-1172

An endocannabinoid analog specifically designed to be a potent and selective inhibitor of AEA uptake that is resistant to FAAH hydrolysis.

AM-1220

A drug that acts as a potent and moderately selective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB1. Has been detected in synthetic marijuana.

AM-1221

A drug that acts as a potent and selective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB2.

AM-1235

Aka (1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(naphthalen-1-oyl)-6-nitroindole) is a drug that acts as a potent and reasonably selective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB1.

AM-1241

Aka(1-(methylpiperidin-2-ylmethyl)-3-(2-iodo-5-nitrobenzoyl)indole), it is a chemical from the aminoalkylindole family that acts as a potent and selective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB2

AM-1248

A drug that acts as a moderately potent agonist for both the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. The related compound 1-pentyl-3-(1-adamantoyl)indole has been sold as synthetic marijuana.

AM-1346

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

AM-1710

A CB2 selective cannabilactone.

AM-2201

AM-2201 (1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole) is a research chemical that acts as a potent but nonselective full agonist for the cannabinoid receptor. Has reportedly been used as a recreational drug.

AM-2212

A potent agonist at both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors with dodecal selectivity for CB1.

AM-2213

A potent agonist at both CB1 and CB2 with 10x selectivity for CB1.

AM-2232

Aka (1-(4-cyanobutyl)-3-(naphthalen-1-oyl)indole) is a drug that acts as a potent but unselective agonist for the cannabinoid receptors.

AM-2233

A drug that acts as a highly potent full agonist for the cannabinoid receptors.

AM-2389

A classical cannabinoid derivative which acts as a potent and reasonably selective agonist for the CB1 receptor.

AM-3102

An analog of oleoylethanolamide, it also acts as a weak cannabinoid agonist.

AM-4030

A potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, it is dodecally selective for CB1. It is a derivative of HU-210.

AM-4054

A potent but slow-onset cannabinoid receptor agonist with CB1 cannabinoid receptor affinity.

AM-4113

A CB1 cannabinoid receptor-selective neutral antagonist.

AM-6545

A drug which acts as a peripherally selective silent antagonist for the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, and was developed for the treatment of obesity.

AMG-1

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist. It is a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors with moderate selectivity for the CB1 receptor.

AMG-3

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist. It is a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

AMG-36

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist. It is a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors with moderate selectivity for CB1.

AMG-41

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist. It is a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2.

APICA

Aka SDB-001 or 2NE1, it is a drug that acts as a potent agonist for the cannabinoid receptors and has been identified as an ingredient in synthetic cannabis smoking blends.

α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone

Aka alpha-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone,α-PVP, O-2387 or alpha-PVP, it is a stimulant compound developed in the 1960s and related to pyrovalerone and is believed to act similarly to the designer drug MDPV, which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor.

α-Pyrrolidinopropiophenone

Aka α-PPP, it is a stimulant drug that has been detected by laboratories in Germany as an ingredient in "ecstasy" tablets seized by law enforcement authorities.

Arachidonyl-2'-chloroethylamide

A synthetic agonist of the CB1 receptor with low affinity for the CB2 receptor.

Arachidonylcyclopropylamide

A synthetic agonist of the CB1 receptor with low affinity for the CB2 receptor.

AZ-11713908

A peripherally selective cannabinoid agonist, acting as a potent agonist at the CB1 receptor and a partial agonist at CB2

BAY 38-7271

Aka KN 38-7271, it is a drug which is a cannabinoid receptor agonist used in scientific research, with proposed uses in the treatment of traumatic brain injury and has fairly high affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors

BAY 59-3074

A drug which is a cannabinoid receptor partial agonist used in scientific research. It has a modest affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Canbisol

Aka Nabidrox, it is a synthetic cannabinoid derivative that is a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is mainly used in scientific research but has been made illegal in some countries.

Cannabipiperidiethanone

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family that has been found as an ingredient of synthetic marijuana blends.

CB-13

Aka SAB-378, it is a cannabinoid drug that acts as a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB-86

A resorcinol-anandamide hybrid compound that acts as a partial agonist for the CB1 receptor and a neutral antagonist for the CB2 receptor.

CBS-0550

A drug that acts as a potent and selective cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist.

CP 47,497

Aka Cannabicyclohexanol, it is a cannabinoid receptor agonist drug. It has been used in synthetic marijuana and is illegal in a handful of countries.

CP 50,556-1

Aka Levonantradol, it is a synthetic cannabinoid analog of dronabinol. It is around 30x more potent than THC.

CP 55,244

A compound which is a cannabinoid receptor agonist. It has pain-relieving effects and is used in scientific research. It is an extremely potent CB1 cannabinoid receptor full agonist.

CP 55,940

A cannabinoid which mimics the effects of naturally occurring THC.

CP-945,598

Aka otenabant, it is a drug which acts as a potent and highly selective CB1 antagonist.

Desmethylprodine

Aka MPPP, it is an opioid analgesic drug developed in the 1940s that has been illegally manufactured for recreational drug use. It is an analog of Pethidine (Meperidine).

Dimethylheptylpyran

A synthetic analog of THC.

Dronabinol

A pharmaceutical formulation of THC, it is available by prescription in the U.S. and Canada under the brand name Marinol.

EAM-2201

A Naphthoylindole type synthetic cannabinoid that is a hybrid of two known synthetic cannabinoid compounds: JWH-210 and AM-2201. It has been found as an ingredient in synthetic marijuana smoking products and has been banned in some countries.

GW-405,833

Aka L-768,242, it is a drug that acts as a potent and selective partial agonist for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.

GW-842,166X

A drug which acts as a potent and selective cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist, with a novel chemical structure based on a pyrimidine core.

HU-210

A synthetic cannabinoid that is 100 to 800 times more potent than natural THC. It has been implicated in preventing the inflammation caused by amyloid beta proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease, in addition to preventing cognitive impairment and loss of neuronal markers. It has been found in synthetic marijuana and is illegal in some countries.

HU-211

Aka Dexanabinol or ETS210, it is a synthetic cannabinoid derivative. Unlike other cannabinoid derivatives, HU-211 does not act as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

HU-239

Aka ajulemic acid, AB-III-56 & IP-751, it is a synthetic cannabinoid derivative of the non-psychoactive THC metabolite 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC that shows useful analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects without causing a subjective "high".

HU-243

Aka AM-4056, it is a synthetic cannabinoid drug that is a potent agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

HU-308

A drug that acts as a cannabinoid agonist. It is highly selective for the CB2 receptor.

HU-320

A drug related to cannabidiol, which has strong anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties while demonstrating no psychoactive effects.

HU-331

An anticarcinogenic drug synthesized from cannabidiol.

HU-336

A strongly antiangiogenic compound.

HU-345

A strongly antiangiogenic compound.

HU-910

A nonclassical synthetic cannabinoid.

JTE 7-31

A selective cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-007

An analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family, which acts as a cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is illegal in some countries.

JWH-015

A chemical from the naphthoylindole family that acts as a subtype-selective cannabinoid agonist that has an affinity for the CB2 receptor.

JWH-019

An analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family that acts as a cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is illegal in some countries.

JWH-030

A research chemical which is a cannabinoid receptor agonist from the naphthoylpyrrole family that is used in scientific research. It is roughly half the potency of THC.

JWH-051

An analgesic drug which is a cannabinoid agonist. It retains high affinity for the CB1 receptor, but is a much stronger agonist for CB2.

JWH-057

A selective cannabinoid ligand.

JWH-073

An analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family that acts as a partial agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It has been found in synthetic marijuana and is illegal in some countries.

JWH-081

An analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family, which acts as a cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

JWH-098

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the naphthoylindole family. It is illegal in some countries.

JWH-116

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthoylindole family.

JWH-120

A synthetic cannabimimetic from the naphthoylindole family.

JWH-122

A synthetic cannabimimetic from the naphthoylindole family.

JWH-133

A potent selective CB2 receptor agonist. It is implicated in preventing the inflammation caused by Amyloid beta proteins involved in Alzheimer's Disease, in addition to preventing cognitive impairment and loss of neuronal markers.

JWH-139

Chemical name; 3-(1,1-dimethylpropyl)-6,6,9-trimethyl-6a,7,10,10a-tetrahydro-6H-benzo[c]chromene

JWH-147

An analgesic drug used in scientific research, which acts as a cannabinoid agonist from the naphthoylpyrrole family at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It has been found in synthetic marijuana and has been banned in some countries.

JWH-148

A synthetic cannabimimetic.

JWH-149

A synthetic cannabimimetic from the naphthoylindole family.

JWH-161

A cannabinoid derivative that was designed as a hybrid between the dibenzopyran "classical" cannabinoid drugs and the novel indole derivatives.

JWH-164

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the naphthoylindole family.

JWH-166

A potent and highly selective CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-167

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family.

JWH-171

An analgesic drug which acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-175

A drug from the naphthylmethylindole family which acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist. It is illegal in some countries.

JWH-176

An analgesic drug which acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-181

A potent cannabinoid agonist.

JWH-182

A potent cannabinoid agonist from the naphthoylindole family.

JWH-184

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-185

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-192

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-193

A drug from the aminoalkylindole family which acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-194

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-195

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-196

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-197

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-198

A drug from the aminoalkylindole family which acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-199

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand from the naphthylmethylindole family.

JWH-200

Aka WIN 55,225, it’s an analgesic chemical from the aminoalkylindole family that acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

JWH-203

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family.

JWH-205

Chemical name; 1-(2-methyl-1-pentylindol-3-yl)-2-phenylethanone

JWH-210

An analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family, which acts as a potent cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2. It has been found in synthetic marijuana and is banned in some countries.

JWH-213

A potent and fairly selective CB2 agonist.

JWH-220

A cannabinoid agonist.

JWH-229

A potent CB2 agonist.

JWH-234

A cannabinoid agonist with CB2 selectivity.

JWH-249

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family.

JWH-250

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family. It has been found in synthetic marijuana.

JWH-251

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family.

JWH-253

A cannabinoid agonist.

JWH-258

A potent and mildly selective CB1 agonist.

JWH-300

A cannabinoid agonist.

JWH-302

A synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family.

JWH-307

An analgesic drug used in scientific research, which acts as a cannabinoid agonist from the naphthoylpyrrole family at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It has been found in synthetic marijuana.

JWH-336

A cannabinoid agonist.

JWH-350

A cannabinoid agonist with an affinity for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.

JWH-359

A potent and selective CB2 receptor agonist.

JWH-369

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the naphthoylpyrrole family.

JWH-370

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the naphthoylpyrrole family.

JWH-387

Chemical name; 1-pentyl-3-(4-bromo-1-naphthoyl)indole, it’s an analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family, which acts as a potent cannabinoid agonist at both receptors.

JWH-398

An analgesic chemical from the naphthoylindole family, which acts as a cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1and CB2 receptors. It has been found in synthetic marijuana.

JWH-424

A drug from the naphthoylindole family, which acts as a cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but with moderate selectivity for CB2.

KM-233

A drug which is an analog of THC. It has a high binding affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with a selectivity for CB2.

LASSBio-881

A drug which acts as both a non-selective partial agonist of the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and also as an antagonist of the TRPV1 receptor.

LBP-1

A drug that acts as a potent and selective cannabinoid receptor agonist, with high potency at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Leelamine

A weak CB1 receptor agonist and PDK inhibitor.

L-759,633

An analgesic drug that is a cannabinoid agonist. It is a fairly selective agonist for the CB2 receptor, with selectivity for CB2.

L-759,656

An analgesic drug that is a cannabinoid agonist. It is a highly selective agonist for the CB2 receptor.

MAM-2201

A Naphthoylindole type synthetic cannabinoid that is a hybrid of two known synthetic cannabinoid compounds: JWH-122 and AM-2201. It has been found as an ingredient in synthetic marijuana smoking products and has been banned in some countries.

MDA-7

A synthetic cannabinoid agonist.

MDA-19

A drug that acts as a potent and selective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB2, with reasonable selectivity over the psychoactive CB1receptor.

MDPPP

Aka 3',4'-Methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinopropiophenone, it is a stimulant designer drug. It was sold in Germany in the late 1990s and early 2000s as an ingredient in imitation ecstasy (MDMA) pills

Menabitan

Aka SP-204, or menabitan hydrochloride, it is a synthetic drug which acts as a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist. It is closely related to natural cannabinoids

Mephedrone

A synthetic stimulant drug of the amphetamine and cathinone classes, it is chemically similar to the cathinone compounds found in the khat plant of eastern Africa. It comes in the form of tablets or a powder, which users can swallow, snort or inject, producing similar effects to MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine. It has been found as an ingredient in “bath salts” drugs.

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone

A psychoactive drug with stimulant properties, which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). First developed in 1969, it has been found to be an ingredient in “bath salts” drugs.

Methylone

Aka M1, it is an entactogen and stimulant of the phenethylamine, amphetamine and cathinone classes. It has been found to be an ingredient in designer drugs similar to “bath salts” drugs and is illegal in some countries.

Nabazenil

Aka SP-175, it is a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist, which has anticonvulsant properties.

Nabilone

A synthetic cannabinoid with therapeutic use as an antiemetic and as an adjunct analgesic for neuropathic pain. In Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico, nabilone is marketed as Cesamet.

Nabitan

Aka Nabutam, Benzopyranoperidine, SP-106 or Abbott 40656, it is a synthetic cannabinoid analog of dronabinol (Marinol).

Naboctate

Aka SP-325, it is a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

Naphyrone

Aka O-2482 and naphthylpyrovalerone. it is a drug derived from pyrovalerone that acts as a triple reuptake inhibitor, producing stimulant effects and has been reported as a novel designer drug.

NMP-7

A drug which acts as both a non-selective agonist of the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and also as a blocker of T-type calcium channels.

Nonabine

Aka BRL-4664, it is a cannabinoid derivative, which was developed for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

O-224

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-581

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-585

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

O-689

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

O-774

A classical cannabinoid derivative which acts as a potent agonist for the cannabinoid receptors,

O-806

A drug which is a cannabinoid derivative that is used in scientific research. It is described as a mixed agonist/antagonist at the cannabinoid receptor CB1, meaning that it acts as an antagonist when co-administered alongside a more potent CB1 agonist, but exhibits weak partial agonist effects when administered by itself.

O-823

A drug which is a cannabinoid derivative that is used in scientific research described as a mixed agonist/antagonist at the cannabinoid receptor CB1, meaning that it acts as an antagonist when co-administered alongside a more potent CB1 agonist, but exhibits weak partial agonist effects when administered by itself.

O-889

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1057

An analgesic cannabinoid derivative created for use in scientific research. It is water soluble and has moderate affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

O-1125

A drug which is a cannabinoid derivative. It has analgesic effects and is used in scientific research. It is a potent CB1 full agonist.

O-1191

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-1238

A drug which is a cannabinoid derivative that is used in scientific research. It is a partial agonist at the cannabinoid receptor CB1.

O-1269

A drug that is a diarylpyrazole derivative and a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1270

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1376

A nonclassical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-1399

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1422

A nonclassical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-1601

A nonclassical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-1602

A synthetic compound most closely related to abnormal cannabidiol, and more distantly related in structure to cannabinoid drugs such as THC. It does not bind to the classical cannabinoid receptors CB1 or CB2 with any significant affinity, but instead is an agonist at several other receptors which appear to be related to the cannabinoid receptors, particularly GPR18 and GPR55.

O-1656

A nonclassical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-1657

A nonclassical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-1811

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1812

An eicosanoid derivative related to anandamide that acts as a potent and highly selective agonist for the CB1 receptor.

O-1839

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1856

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1860

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist from the eicosanoid family.

O-1861

A "hybrid" agonist of the CB1 and VR1 vanilloid receptors and a compound with potential therapeutic importance. It is from the eicosanoid family.

O-1895

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-1918

A synthetic compound related to cannabidiol, which is an antagonist at two former orphan receptors GPR18 and GPR55, that appear to be related to the cannabinoid receptors.

O-2048

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2050

A drug that is a classical cannabinoid derivative, which acts as a silent antagonist for the CB1 receptor.

O-2113

A drug that is a classical cannabinoid derivative, which acts as a potent agonist for cannabinoid receptors.

O-2220

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

O-2365

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2372

An analgesic cannabinoid derivative created for use in scientific research. It has a high affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is moderately water soluble.

O-2373

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2383

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2426

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2484

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2545

An analgesic cannabinoid derivative created for use in scientific research. It is water soluble and has a high affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

O-2694

A drug that is a cannabinoid derivative. It has analgesic effects and is used in scientific research. It is highly water-soluble and has a high affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

O-2715

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-2716

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-3223

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

O-3226

A classical synthetic cannabinoid.

Org 28312

A drug which acts as a potent cannabinoid receptor full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Org 28611

Aka SCH-900,111, it is a drug which acts as a potent cannabinoid receptor full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Parahexyl

A synthetic homolog of THC. It is illegal in some countries.

Pentedrone

Aka 2-(methylamino)-1-phenylpentan-1-one or α-methylamino-valerophenone, it is a designer drug with presumably stimulant effects, which has been found since 2010 as an ingredient in a number of "bath salt" mixes sold as legal highs.

PF-03550096

A drug that acts as a potent agonist for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.

Pirnabine

Aka SP-304, it is a synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligand, which was developed for the treatment of glaucoma.

Pravadoline

Aka WIN 48,098, it is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic developed in the 1980s as a new anti-inflammatory and prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor. It was eventually discovered that pravadoline represented the first compound from a novel class of cannabinoid agonists, the aminoalkylindoles.

QUCHIC

Aka BB-22, it is a designer drug offered by online vendors as a cannabimimetic agent and has been detected as an ingredient in synthetic marijuana products.

QUPIC

Aka PB-22, it is a designer drug offered by online vendors as a cannabimimetic agent and has been detected as an ingredient in synthetic marijuana products.

RCS-4

RCS-4, or 1-pentyl-3-(4-methoxybenzoyl)indole, is a synthetic cannabinoid drug sold under the names SR-19, BTM-4, or Eric-4 (later shortened to E-4), but originally, OBT-199. It has been found in synthetic marijuana and is illegal in some countries.

RCS-8

Aka SR-18, BTM-8 or 1-(2-cyclohexylethyl)-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl), it is a synthetic cannabinoid from the phenylacetylindole family that has been found as an ingredient of synthetic marijuana blends.

S-444,823

A cannabinoid agonist that has moderate selectivity for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.

SER-601

Aka COR-167, it is a drug that acts as a potent and selective cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist.

SPA-239

A synthetic nonclassical cannabinoid.

STS-135

A designer drug offered by online vendors as a cannabimimetic agent.

Tedalinab

Aka GRC-10693, it is a drug which acts as a potent and selective cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist.

THC-O-acetate

Aka THC acetate ester, it is a derivative of THC apparently made by extracting and purifying THC from cannabis plant material using a Soxhlet extractor, followed by reaction with acetic anhydride similar to how heroin is made from morphine.

THC-O-phosphate

A water-soluble phosphate ester derivative of THC invented in 1978 and made by reacting THC with phosphoryl chloride using pyridine as a solvent, followed by quenching with water to produce THC phosphate ester.

Tinabinol

Aka SP-119 it is a synthetic cannabinoid drug and analog of dronabinol.

UR-12

Aka MN-25, it is a drug that acts as a reasonably selective agonist of peripheral cannabinoid receptors. It has moderate affinity for CB2 receptors with a lower affinity for the psychoactive CB1 receptors.

UR-144

Aka TMCP-018, KM-X1, MN-001 or YX-17, it is a drug that acts as a selective full agonist of the peripheral cannabinoid receptor CB2. It has been found in synthetic marijuana and has been banned in some countries.

URB-447

A synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist.

URB-754

A synthetic designer drug that has been found in synthetic marijuana products that acts by inhibiting an endocannabinoid deactivating enzyme.

VSN-16

A novel water-soluble cannabinoid agonist.

WIN 54,461

Aka 6-Bromopravadoline, it is a drug that acts as a potent and selective inverse agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB2.

WIN 55,212-2

A chemical described as an aminoalkylindole derivative, which produces effects similar to those of cannabinoids like THC.

WIN 55,225

Aka JWH-200, it’s an analgesic chemical from the aminoalkylindole family that acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

WIN 56,098

A chemical that is considered to be an aminoalkylindole derivative. It is a tricyclic aryl derivative that acts as a competitive antagonist at the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.

XLR-11

A synthetic designer drug that has been found in synthetic marijuana products. It has been banned in some countries


Overall Effects of Designer Drugs

Depending on the kind of drug and quantity, the user may experience prolonged periods of wakefulness, extreme relaxation, decrease in appetite, memory loss and paranoia. The worst effect would lead to coma or death.

Designer drugs usually contain other unknown substances and contaminants that make it extremely difficult to determine the level of toxicity and the potential medical consequences. Some of these drugs, when mixed with alcohol, can worsen the effect of the illicit drugs.

The use of these drugs may remove inhibition among teenagers to a point that they gain so much confidence enough to drive while intoxicated, engage in unsafe sex, or suffer injury. Some of these drugs may not be detected using urine test or other screening methods, making it difficult to determine intoxication level.

Withdrawal symptoms happen when an individual who used to be dependent on these illicit drugs stops taking them. These signs include tremors, sweating, insomnia and anxiety. The individual may also experience agitation, depression, vomiting, rapid heart rate and high blood pressure.

Statistics Related to Synthetic Drug Use

It pays to know facts and figures about synthetic drug use. These figures will, later on, help you see a clearer picture of what is happening in society today with regards to synthetic drugs.

The US market introduces five synthetic drugs every month. 

Five synthetic drugs every month would mean 60 different names in a year. The total number had grown from 51 names introduced in 2012. Of this number, you might wonder how many are identified by authorities.

With the growing number of these substances out in the market from time to time, the White House discussed the availability of the new synthetic drugs information kit for parents. This kit will help parents learn about approaches on how to talk to their teens about synthetic drugs and will likewise help them recognize signs that their teens may be using these substances.

In 2012, it was recorded that 11% of American High School seniors used synthetic marijuana. 

DrugAbuse.gov gathered this figure from the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey. This is equivalent to thousands of teens that land on emergency rooms of hospitals in the country. It was found out that 14% male and 8% female senior high school students used synthetic marijuana in 2012.

Synthetic marijuana exposure decreased in 2014 (based on recent data) when compared to numbers reported in 2013.

In 2013 alone, there were 2,657 reported cases of synthetic marijuana exposure in the US. As of April 30, 2014, only 795 cases of the same nature were reported. This is 152 cases lower than what was reported at the end of the same month in 2013. Data shows that there were 947 exposures to this synthetic drug as of April 30, 2013.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its federal agents served 200 search and arrest warrants in 25 states in the U.S.

This is proof that the DEA has enforced and broadened its efforts to run after manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic drugs. Out of the 200 search and arrest warrants, 150 were arrested.

During this operation, hundreds of thousands of synthetic drugs (sold in individual packets) as well as hundreds of kilograms of products used to make these substances were seized by federal agents. Together with this, they also seized a total of $200 million in cash and assets.

As of May 2014, there were reports that 120 overdose emergency cases in Austin and Dallas in Texas were due to synthetic marijuana, also known as "K2".

The publication reported this figure right after the arrest of 150 synthetic drug manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers in the country. Together with this report, it was found out that 250 synthetic drugs are used every day. Due to the alarming statistics in Austin and Dallas, DEA federal agents are particularly targeting Texas in their next operations. This, however, does not stop them from pushing more efforts to remove synthetic drugs from the entire US market.

The most recent statistics related to synthetic drug use prove alarming to a lot of parents out there. They show how prevalent the use of these substances is in the US alone. There is hope in putting an end to the suffering of those involved in the use of synthetic drugs though.

Drug Policy in the U.S.

Individuals found to be in possessing drugs or involved in any kind of drug trade may receive harsh punishment. This is evident in the number of prisoners in the country who have been prosecuted due to drugs. It was in the1970s when President Richard Nixon started his campaign on the “war on drugs”. From then on, the U.S. has been all out in pursuing drug traffickers by any legal means necessary.

Established in July 2014, the National Drug Control Strategy focuses on both public health and safety aspects of drug use and substance use disorders. It was created to recognize that there is a need to give importance in addressing addiction as the problem of drug abuse has grown to become a disease in society. The policy aims to provide information to prevent using these illicit drugs, as well as treatment options to those who need it.

Below are drug policies that concern those who are in possession of drugs, or people who are connected to trading, distribution or manufacturing of designer drugs.

  • Harrison Act of 1914: This regulated and taxed the production, importation and distribution of opiates and coca products.
  • California Proposition 215: This act allows cannabis for medical use in the state of California, despite the lack of standard Food and Drug Administration testing for safety and efficacy.
  • Controlled Substances Act: This is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of certain narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids and other chemicals are regulated.
  • Ecstasy Law: This is a federal rule that controls the use, possession, and distribution of ecstasy.
  • Marijuana Law: This rule controls how marijuana should be used, carried, and distributed.

Conclusion

Synthetic substances have created a new dimension in the drug epidemic. Officials, lawmakers, and researchers have yet to keep up with chemists and drug manufacturers whose ingenuity make classification and outright banning of designer drugs a huge challenge. In the meantime, parents are advised to closely monitor their teenagers and check for signs of drug use or addiction.

While more information is still being gathered and compiled, the best strategy for parents, guardians and school authorities is to observe utmost vigilance and to devise effective preventive mechanisms to keep kids and teenagers away from the deceptive lure of black market drugs.


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