The use of synthetic cannabis has been high profile in the media and a discussion among health workers. The Victorian government recently made synthetic cannabinoids illegal. What does a youth worker need to know about these drugs?

WHAT

Synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured substances that mimic the effects of cannabis. They are often sold online, in adult stores or in herbal high shops. They have recently been made illegal for use by the Victorian Government

OTHER NAMES

Synthetic cannibinoids go by many names such as Kronic, K2, Spice, Zeus, Tai high, Puff, Northern lights, Marley.

HOW COMMON IS USAGE?

Reliable data on rates of use are not yet available.

APPEARANCE

Usually appears as a natural herb since the most common way of selling synthetic cannabis is by spraying the synthetic chemical onto natural herbs that look like cannabis.

USE

Consumed in similar ways to regular cannabis- smoked in a bong, pipe, joint or eaten.

EFFECTS

Similar effects to cannabis, relaxed, decreased concentration, slower reaction times. Auditory and visual hallucinations. Potential for Anxiety and panic.

OVERDOSE

Unlike cannabis where overdose is almost non-existent there have been reports of overdose or adverse reactions for users of synthetic cannabinoids. Symptoms have included seizures, vomiting, agitation and confusion-hospital admission has been required on occassions. 

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Try YoDAA’s more general info about synthetic drugs or ask YoDAA.

SOME COMMON HARM REDUCTION STRATEGIES

Encourage a young person to

  • Only use a small amount to begin with
  • Avoid using alone, share the experience with someone who has used before or with someone who is not using.
  • Monitor their mental health before using to ensure it is stable
  • Call and ambulance if concerned.

Here’s a video from Global Drug Survey about the risks of synthetic cannabis.

Read an interview with one of the chemists who developed synthetic cannibinoids such as Kronic.  

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Try NCPICs fact sheet about synthetic cannabis, try YoDAA’s more general info about synthetic drugs here or ask YoDAA.