Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids - Endourage


Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids

Certain synthetic cannabinoids fall under a designer drug category, often sprayed onto other plant matter to be consumed through smoking. These are very chemically different from the safe synthetic cannabinoids replicating THC and CBD, among others. Often marketed as an herbal incense or “herbal smoking blend,” and even taking the dangerous name of Synthetic Marijuana, these products are not safe for human consumption and people do die from consuming them.

First invented in the early 2000s to avoid the legal restrictions surrounding cannabis, they were commonly reported as a legal and safe alternative to marijuana, but without any research backing it up. Packages often include ingredient lists of numerous plants, such as alfalfa, blue violet, nettle leaf, marsh mallow, rosehip, white or blue water lilies, honeyweed, sage, dwarf skullcap and others, but more often than not, none of these ingredients were identified in the packaging. Most packages actually contain inert vegetable matter with lab-created synthetic cannabinoids sprayed onto them. Some packages have been found with aporphine, nicotine, opioids and kratom included, and laboratory results in 2008 and 2012 discovered additional concerns, such as some packages being laced with fentanyl and brodifacoum, a dangerously potent rat poison. 

Negative side effects from consuming synthetic cannabinoids are extremely common and include palpitations, intense paranoia and anxiety, nausea, vomiting, brain swelling, chest pains, poor coordination, aggression, seizures and psychotic episodes. Many synthetic cannabinoids have also been proven to display extreme compulsions to re-dose, severe withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, sleeplessness and headaches, and persistent cravings. Deaths reported from synthetic cannabinoids number in the hundreds, most often from sudden heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and muscle damage. Between 2010 and 2015, the CDC reported that 66% of drug overdoses from synthetic cannabinoids affected the central nervous system through agitation, coma or toxic psychosis, 17% through cardiovascular issues such as severe tachycardia and bradycardia, 7.6% through pulmonary problems such as respiratory depression and 4% through acute kidney injury. 

Dangerous synthetic cannabinoids come under many brand names, and all should be avoided at all costs. Some of these names are the names of actual cannabis strains, however, so ensure you’re just avoiding the packaged plant versions of these name brands and not the safe cannabis varieties. Additionally, the use of the term “synthetic marijuana” is a massive misnomer, as these cannabinoids are not based chemically on the cannabinoids found in marijuana. Dr. Lewis Nelson, a medical toxicologist at the NYU School of Medicine abhors the name and has tried to get rid of the term’s use in the industry.


Dimethylheptylpyran, also called DMHP, A-40824 or EA-2233, is a heavily psychotropic synthetic cannabinoid that binds primarily to CB1 receptors. It was invented in 1949 by the US Army Chemical Corps and tested by Edgewood Arsenal, a company producing chemicals for classified human subject research in Maryland. Initially contracted in 1948 until 1975, Edgewood took the public form of a vaccine and pharmaceutical laboratory, but whose actual intent was psychochemical warfare for the US military involving over 7,000 human subjects. Edgewood’s research into these kinds of chemicals, including LSD, is what would lead to the CIA’s now declassified Project MKUltra. DMHP was specifically created to produce stronger effects than THC, of which it is very chemically similar to, and intended to be used as a non-lethal incapacitator for use in single-dose agents. DMHP was found to be over 1000 times more potent than THC, and could create a high lasting over 48 hours. In declassified trials, it produced hallucinations, severe dizziness, fainting, ataxia and muscle weakness, to the point of patients being too weak to stay standing up. Deaths occurred in many animal models, typically from hypothermia, but was preventable with supportive treatment. Edgewood concluded their tests a success, but DMHP was eventually dropped and replaced with another Edgewood chemical, 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ), which proved more effective. BZ was even detected during the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis when Spetsnaz operators pumped the theater full of the gas before storming it, killing all 40 terrorists, but also killing 204 hostages.


Rimonabant, also called SR141716A, Otenabant, CP945598, Acomplia or Zimulti, is a psychoactive, psychotropic synthetic cannabinoid that primarily binds to CB1 receptors. It was invented by Sanofi-Aventis in conjunction with Pfizer Inc. and initially approved as an antiobesity drug, and a 2006 study on mice showed its ability to inhibit the wound-healing response to acute hepatic injury, slowing the progression of cirrhosis in different types of chronic injury. Unfortunately, it was withdrawn two years later due to 10% of patients becoming clinically depressed and 1% suicidal. It has not been approved since.

Spice, K2, Kronic, Sage and More

Brand name psychotropic blends have appeared throughout the world using any combination of APICA, APINACA, AM1220, AM1241, AM1248, AM2201, AM2233, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-250, CP47497, CB-13, HU-210, HHC, RCS-4, CCH, SR-18, PB-22, BTM-8, UR-144, STS-135, XLR-11, XLR-12 and cannabicyclohexanol synthetic cannabinoids, among many others, and manufactured by numerous companies. The first to be manufactured and packaged as an herbal incense was Spice, whose initial creator, The Psyche Deli, was founded in London in 2005, spurring dozens of other similar businesses trying to capitalize on this new legal loophole. This would result in numerous variants and brands of the same generally dangerous product appearing all over the world, including Spice, Spice Gold, AK-47, Spike, Scooby Snax, K2, Mr. Happy, Kush, Kronic, Black Mamba, Bombay Glue, Genie, Sage, Zohai, Banana Cream Nuke, Krypton, Lava Red, Cripy, C-Liquid and many more, often marketed as synthetic marijuana, natural herbs, herbal incense, or herbal smoking blends.

In particular, JWH-018 has been known to kill animal models through hypothermia, and is the cause of death of a South Carolina college basketball player from organ failure. Following JWH-018’s ban, it was replaced with JWH-073, an equally as dangerous synthetic cannabinoid that is nearly chemically identical, and carries with it the same dangerous risks of death. Cannabicyclohexanol has been shown to be extremely damaging to DNA when exposed to human cells. XLR-11 has caused acute kidney injury and numerous hospitalizations. PB-22 has been credited with more deaths than usual, most prominently in Japan in 2012, reaching nearly 100 total.

Other Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids

Aside from the dangerous synthetic cannabinoids listed above, others to outright avoid include Canbisol, Cannabipiperidiethanone (CPE), Lodopravadoline, Pravadoline, Dexanabinol, Methanandamide, Menabitan, Arvanil, Olvanil, Dietressa, Brizantin, and Nabidrox, as well as 2NEI, 4-HTMPIPO, 6-Bromopravadoline, AZ-037, BB-22, BTM-4, CBL-2201, CRA-13, E-4, Eric-4, ETS2101, GSK-554418A, I-AMB, JNJ1661010, LH-21, LTI-701, MJ-15, MK-0364, NESS-0327, NIDA-41020, NM-2201, NNE1, NNL-2, PHOP, PPA(N)-2201, S-444823, SCH-900111, SP-204, SPA-229, SRF-30, TMCP-018, URB-447, VSN-16 and YX-17, among the larger synthetic cannabinoid series, including the JWH, AM, HU, SR, WIN, UR, THJ, SGT, SDB, PX, PTI, PF, Org, O, MN, MDA, MAM, L, JTE, CP, CB, CAY, BZ, BIM, AMG, OBT, PB, KM and the RCS series. As a rule of thumb, any synthetic cannabinoids with an indazole, indole, quinolinylindole, benzolindole, adamantoylindole, naphthoylindole or phenylacetylindole base should be avoided as well.


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