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Synthetic drug use and production has been on the rise since the early 2000’s. Manufactured to mimic the effects of substances like marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, these ‘legal highs’ are sold at local convenience stores and gas stations to teenagers and adults alike. Despite the overwhelming amount of negative media attention these substances have received, they are second only to marijuana in illicit drug use by high school students.

Depending on their chemical make-up, synthetic drugs are divided into cannabinoids and cathinones.


Known by names like K2 and Spice, cannabinoids are manufactured to mimic the effects of marijuana, but are marketed under product categories like herbal incense and potpourri. Made up of dried plant material and synthetic cannabinoid compounds that claim to reproduce the effects of THC found in cannabis, these substances have been known to cause delirium and seizures, and produce feelings of aggression and anxiety.


Most popularly known as bath salts, cathinones aim to imitate the effects of cocaine or meth. Sold as plant food and jewelry cleaner, these designer drugs have mixed reports as to their effects that range from euphoria to violent hallucinations. Chemically similar to amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy), these synthetic drugs are known to be very addictive and induce tolerance, dependence and symptoms of withdrawal when used regularly.

Everything from these synthetic drugs’ name to their packaging is used to deceive consumers into thinking that their products are harmless. For example, with names like Ivory Wave and White Dove, bath salts are sold as crystalline powder in tiny plastic bags and jars with packaging that depicts scenes ranging from partying to a day at the spa. While both synthetic cathinones and cannabinoids packaging clearly states that their products are not intended for human consumption, this is simply a masquerade to abide by government regulation. Distributors are also legally allowed to bypass listing their full range of ingredients, making them even more dangerous as the combination is forever changing to remain in legal standing.

Despite the fact that governments around the world are working to ban these synthetic drugs by making specific parts of their formula illegal, drug manufacturers can sidestep these regulations by simply substituting the banned chemical compound. Because of this, the formula for these synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones are constantly changing, making them even more dangerous to users.

If you or someone you know has a problem with synthetic drugs, call TIME Recovery Center at 561.317.4010 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced counselors TODAY!