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The Problems Posed D esigner Drugs (Spice/K2, Bath Salts, Etc.). By: Paul L. Cary Toxicology Laboratory University of Missouri. The Story of Designer Drugs. Designer Drugs:.

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The Problems Posed D esigner Drugs (Spice/K2, Bath Salts, Etc.)

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The problems posed d esigner drugs spice k2 bath salts etc

The Problems Posed Designer Drugs(Spice/K2, Bath Salts, Etc.)

By: Paul L. Cary

Toxicology Laboratory

University of Missouri

The story of designer drugs

The Story of Designer Drugs

Designer drugs

Designer Drugs:

drugs, which are created (or reformulated, if the drug already existed) to get around existing drug laws (CSA), usually by modifying the molecular structures of existing drugs to varying degrees

Designer drugs1

Designer Drugs:

  • “designer drug” was first coined by law enforcement in the 1980s

  • second International Opium Convention in 1925 which specifically banned alternative esters of morphine

  • 1960s - 1970s, new synthetic hallucinogens (modifications of LSD & PCP)

  • 1980s - 1990s, design of MDMA (ecstasy) & methcathinone

  • 2000 - 2005, derivatives of psilocybin & mescaline - anabolic steroid

What drives the production designer drugs

What Drives the Production Designer Drugs ?

  • consumer preferences

  • law enforcement control

Spice k2 and synthetic cannabinoids

Spice/K2 and Synthetic Cannabinoids

What s in these incense products

What’s in these “incense” products?

Listed ingredients in spice

“Listed” Ingredients in Spice

  • Canavalia rosea: commonly known as beach bean or bay bean - vine found in tropical and subtropical beach dunes

  • Nymphaea caerulea: also known as Blue Egyptian water lily

  • Scutellaria nana: perennial herb also known as Dwarf skullcap

  • Pedicularis densiflora: known commonly as Indian warrior - a perennial herb

  • Leonotis leonurus: also known as Lion's Tail and Wild Dagga - a perennial shrub native to southern Africa

  • Zornia latifolia: is a perennial herb

  • Nelumbo nucifera: known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, or simply Lotus - aquatic perennial commonly found in China

  • Leonurus sibiricus: commonly called Honeyweed or Siberian motherwort, herbaceous plant native to Asia

  • vanilla

  • honey

Preparation of the incense

Preparation of the “incense”:

  • botanicals are sprayed with liquid preparations of:

    • HU-210

    • HU-211

    • CP 47,497

    • JWH-018

    • JWH-073

The problems posed designer drugs spice

Synthetic cannabinoids are not Salvia divinorum.Salvia divinorum is a psychoactive plant which can induce dissociative effects.

Where can these incense products be purchased

Where can these “incense” products be purchased?

Sources of incense products

Sources of Incense Products:

  • “head” shops/alternative medicine stores

  • internet/on-line sources (2004)

  • 1-(800) phone ordering services

  • individual distributors

Internet sources

Internet Sources:

Buy on ebay

Buy on ebay:

How is herbal incense promoted

How is herbal incense promoted?

The problems posed designer drugs spice

The Directions:

The benefits

The Benefits:

More directions

More Directions:

There is 1.5g of Natural Super Puff in each package. Super Puff incense is an ultra strong aromatic incense, and is one of the world's strongest herbal incense blends available. It contains an extremely potent blend of herbal resins, extracts, and leaves. This incense is for botanical use only and is not for human consumption.



You affirm and agree to the following:

That you are 18 years of age or older.

NO EXCEPTIONS! You agree to use

our products for their intended purposes

only. You waive without exception

your right to hold Seller liable in any

way for the misuse of Seller’s products.

Buyer understands that all of Seller’s

products are offered for scientific

research purposes only and that these

products are not intended for human

consumption. Buyer understands that

Seller’s products are not meant for oral

consumption or inhalation of smoke/hot

vapors. The Seller does NOT supply

instructions on proper use of any product


What s the story behind these synthetic thc chemicals

What’s the story behind these synthetic THC chemicals?

Synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • HU-210

  • HU-211

  • CP 47,497 (and related chemicals)

  • JWH-018

  • JWH-073

Origins of synthetic cannabinoids

Origins of Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • HU-210 & HU-211 - synthesized at Hebrew University, Israel in 1988. HU-210 is an anti-inflammatory; HU-211 as an anesthetic

  • CP 47,497 - developed by Pfizer in 1980 as an analgesic

  • JWH-018 & JWH-073 - synthesize by a researcher at Clemson (1995) for use in THC receptor research - John W. Huffman

  • more than 100 different synthetic cannabinoids have been created

Synthetic cannabinoids timeline

Synthetic Cannabinoids Timeline:

  • first appearance on the Internet 2004

  • Europe was original target market

  • by 2008 widespread in Europe

  • 2008 introduced into US

  • widespread in US by late 2008 - 2009

  • late 2008 University Hospital Freiburg, Germany first analysis of incense

  • first email Spring 2009

  • laboratory testing available late 2010

Pharmacological effects of synthetic cannabinoids

Pharmacological Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • HU-210

  • CP 47,497

  • JWH-018

  • JWH-073

  • All act as THC agonists

The problems posed designer drugs spice

An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor and triggers a response – often mimicking the action of a naturally occurring substance.


Drug (agonist)

Cb receptors

CB Receptors:

  • CB1 and CB2

  • CB1 receptor influence mainly the brain (central nervous system, CNS), but there are also effects expressed in the lungs, liver and kidneys

  • CB2 receptor effects mainly the immune system and in certain stem cells

Why change the key

Why Change the Key?

  • prolong the effect of the drug

  • increase the potency of the drug

  • “select” the desired effect

  • make the drug more difficult to detect

  • avoid patent infringement

  • make an illegal drug “legal”


Cb receptors1

CB Receptors:

Smoking cannabinoids

Smoking Cannabinoids

What does CB1 receptor control?

  • BG: motor control, learning

  • Hippo: memory, spatial navigation

  • CB: cognitive functions - attention, language, emotions

Pharmacological effects of synthetic cannabinoids are similar to thc

Pharmacological Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids are Similar to THC

  • increase heart rate & blood pressure

  • altered state of consciousness

  • mild euphoria and relaxation

  • perceptual alterations (time distortion)

  • intensification of sensory experiences

  • pronounced cognitive effects

  • impaired short-term memory

  • reduction in motor skill acuity

  • increase in reaction times

Dependence syndrome similar to marijuana

DependenceSyndrome Similar to Marijuana

Reported effects of synthetic cannabinoids are different to thc

Reported Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids are Different to THC

  • production inconsistencies

  • herbal incense blends are harsher to inhale

  • effect on appetite is non-existent

  • increased restlessness & aggressive behavior

  • herbal incense produces a shorter “high” (perceptual alterations & sensory effects are limited)

  • doesn’t mix well with alcohol (hangovers)

  • incense costs more than marijuana

Abuse of synthetic cannabinoids versus methamphetamine

Abuse of Synthetic Cannabinoids versus Methamphetamine

  • Spice/K2 can be legally purchased

  • synthetic cannabinoids are not as overtly addictive

  • difficult to detect by most drug testing methods

  • are not “dangerous” to manufacture & necessary chemicals are easier to purchase

What s the legal status of synthetic cannabinoids

What’s the legal status of synthetic cannabinoids?

Legal status of synthetic cannabinoids dea

Legal Status of Synthetic Cannabinoids (DEA)

  • March 1, 2011, the DEA, issued final notice to temporarily place five synthetic cannabinoids into the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for at least one year

  • synthetic cannabinoids treated as Schedule 1 drugs

    • a drug that has a high potential for abuse

    • a drug that has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States

    • there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision

Legal status of synthetic cannabinoids dea1

Legal Status of Synthetic Cannabinoids (DEA)

  • synthetic cannabinoids covered under the DEA’s proposed new rule includes the following:

    • JWH-018 *

    • JWH-073 *

    • JWH-200

    • CP-47,497

    • CP-47,497 (C-8 homologue)

Legal status of synthetic cannabinoids dea2

Legal Status of Synthetic Cannabinoids (DEA)

  • DEA took action - imminent hazard to the public safety

  • when finalized - impose criminal sanctions and regulatory controls of Schedule I substances under the CSA

  • covers the manufacture, distribution, possession, importation, and exportation

  • Christine Sannerud, Ph.D., Chief, Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section, Office of Diversion Control

Ramifications of dea action

Ramifications of DEA Action:

  • eliminate the commercial distribution of synthetic cannabinoids

  • drive synthetic cannabinoids underground

  • limit their availability

  • impact on criminal justice - wait and see?

Prevalence of synthetic thc

Prevalence of Synthetic THC?

  • no national statistics

  • Louisiana:

    • 9 clients “pre-selected” based upon suspicion

    • 7 tested positive

  • Columbia MO:

    • 17 clients “pre-selected” based upon suspicion

    • 12 tested positive

    • 5 self-admissions

National statistics for synthetic thc

National Statistics for Synthetic THC

  • American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported:

  • All of 2009

    • 13 cases

  • First half of 2010

    • 567 cases in 41 states

    • 4000% increase

Can synthetic thc chemicals be detected by drug testing

Can synthetic THC chemicals be detected by drug testing?

Drug testing

Drug Testing:

  • NO on-site, rapid, instant tests

  • NO laboratory-based screening tests

  • Five laboratories employing LC/MS/MS technology

  • $20 - $50 per sample

  • many unknowns regarding this testing

Five laboratories are

Five Laboratories Are:

  • Redwood Toxicology Laboratory Santa Rosa, CA

  • National Medical Services Willow Grove, PA

  • MedTox Scientific St. Paul, MN

  • NorChem Flagstaff, AZ

  • Sterling Reference Laboratories

    Tacoma, WA

The wild wild west issues of concern

The Wild, Wild West (Issues of Concern):

  • What synthetic compounds (or metabolites) are being tested by these laboratories?

  • no standardized urine cutoff levels

  • no standardized methods (LC/MS/MS)

  • tests detect metabolites

  • no independent quality control materials

  • no proficiency testing

  • detection window unknown

  • caveat emptor!

Are there control strategies other than testing

Are There Control Strategies Other Than Testing?

Alternative control strategies

Alternative Control Strategies:

  • community supervision

  • search & seizure (client contract)

    • car, home, possessions

Court s response

Court’s Response:

  • place specific synthetic cannabinoid prohibition in your client contract

  • establish a date certain testing date - inform client population

  • establish sanction severity

  • select participants for testing where there are indications of herbal incense use

  • identify positive participants in court & sanction openly to enhance deterrent effect

  • provide opportunity for participants to self-report

A new designer drug ivory wave

A New Designer Drug –Ivory Wave

Bath salts

Bath Salts:

  • The term bath salts refers to a range of water-soluble products designed to be added to a bath. They are said to improve cleaning, improve the experience of bathing, serve as a vehicle for cosmetic agents, and some even claim medical benefits.Bath salts have been developed which mimic the properties of natural mineral baths or hot springs.

Sold under the names

Sold Under the Names:

  • Ivory Wave

  • Ivory Pure

  • Ivory Coast

  • Purple Wave

  • Vanilla Sky

Health hazard

Health Hazard?

What is ivory wave

What is Ivory Wave:

  • Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is a psychoactive drug with stimulant properties which acts as both a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).

  • MDPV has four times the potency of Ritalin

  • MDPV - no history of FDA approved medical use

  • sold since 2007 as a research chemical

The problems posed designer drugs spice


  • currently popular in Europe, UK & Australia

  • is usually snorted - similar to cocaine

  • considered extremely addictive

  • MDPV is “legal”

  • adverse medical/psychiatric ramifications

  • Few drug tests available commercially

The problems posed designer drugs spice

Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone)

  • designer drug chemically similar to cathinone

  • cathinone is a chemical found in the khat plant of Eastern Africa

  • powerful synthetic stimulant

  • first synthesized in 1929

  • “rediscovered” in 2003

  • widespread in Europe, Australia, US

Client prohibition guidance

Client Prohibition Guidance:

  • Any and all “designer drugs”that can be purchased legally, over the counter without a physician’s prescription are strictly prohibited.

  • Any and all “smoking mixtures” (other than products specifically designated to contain only tobacco) are strictly prohibited.

  • Any and all products sold or marketed under false pretenses with the warning “Not for Human Consumption”are strictly prohibited.

Designer drugs2

Designer Drugs:

  • brings me no joy to alert you of this trend

  • designer drugs are here to stay

  • evolutionary patterns

  • testing will lag behind

  • legal controls with be difficult


  • build community supervision/expand search & seizure efforts

Email address

email address:


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