Home > DrugFacts: Synthetic cannabinoids (K2/Spice).

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020) DrugFacts: Synthetic cannabinoids (K2/Spice). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

PDF (Synthetic cannabinoids (K2 / Spice).)

External website: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/s...

Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices. These products are also known as herbal or liquid incense.

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of this similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called synthetic marijuana (or fake weed), and they are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug. In fact, they are not safe and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more dangerous or even life-threatening.

Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS are unregulated mind-altering substances that have become newly available on the market and are intended to produce the same effects as illegal drugs. Some of these substances may have been around for years but have reentered the market in altered chemical forms, or due to renewed popularity.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Guideline, Web Resource
Drug Type
Cannabis, New psychoactive substance
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Harm reduction
June 2020
2 p.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Corporate Creators
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Place of Publication
Bethesda, MD
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
Related (external) link

Repository Staff Only: item control page