A synthetic cannabinoid product is a branded package containing herbal matter sprayed or doused with liquid synthetic cannabinoids. “Spice” and “K2” are examples of very early brands of synthetic cannabinoid products.

There are hundreds of different name brands, but synthetic cannabinoids may also be sold as marijuana might be, as a joint or in a plastic bag without any information as to the actual contents.

Just because synthetic cannabinoids can be sold in a branded package does not mean the synthetic cannabinoids used are always the same. Due to lack of regulation there is no incentive for manufacturers, mostly consisting of clandestine labs in Asia, to ensure a consistent, high-quality product.

These labs are constantly changing formulas in an effort to work around laws attempting to prohibit them. Brands often contain an inconsistent and unreliable combination of synthetic cannabinoids. Material within the packet itself may even have varying levels of potency, which could result in people unintentionally ingesting very high levels of chemicals.

The difference between synthetic cannabinoid products can vary from packet to packet of the same brand name.

Until a regulated framework exists to control the market, requiring labelling and consistency, people determined to use these products will have no idea what they’re getting.

See the fact sheet for more information and sources.