Synthetic & Club Drugs

Synthetic Cannabinoids 

Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked (herbal incense) or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices (liquid incense).

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • Called K2, Spice, and many other names, and are labeled as "not for human consumption" 
  • A mixture of herbs, spices, or shredded plant material that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound
  • Can be smoked in pipes or joints, or made into tea
  • Short term effects include increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomitting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled body movements, elevated blood pressure, dysphasia, severe paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
  • Sold at tobacco shops, convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, and truck stops among others; and via the Internet

Synthetic Cathinones​

Synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as "bath salts," are synthetic (human-made) drugs chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in the khat plant. 

​National Institute on Drug Abuse - Synthetic Cathinones

  • NOT real bath salts! They are referred to as novelty items, and are labeled “not for human consumption”
  • Also marketed as bath crystals, plant food, and herbal incense
  • Described as a white, tan or brown odorless, powdery substance
  • Contain MDPV (methlenedioxypyrovalerone) or mephedrone, both of which are derivatives of the chemical cathinone, a naturally occurring chemical found in the “Khat” (Catha edulis) plant. Cathinone is a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. “Bath salts” may also contain large amounts of caffeine.
  • Both MDPV and mephedrone are central nervous stimulants
  • Effects are similar to cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA. Sometimes called “fake” cocaine or “fake” meth
  • Can be snorted, injected, or eaten
  • Physical Effects: Racing heart beat, Extreme elevations of blood pressure, Sleeplessness, Loss of appetite, Strange eye movements, White powder on nostrils or lips
  • Psychological Effects: Extreme agitation or anxiety, Hallucinations, Paranoia, Change in personality, Depression, Aggression or disturbed behavior, Delusions, Hostility, Violence, Suicidal thoughts
  • Sold at tobacco shops, convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, and truck stops among others; and via the Internet
  • The various brands are sold in 50-milligram to 500-milligram packets. Prices range from $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet

Club Drugs

​Club drugs tend to used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties. Club drugs include GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, and LSD (Acid). 

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Club Drugs

National Institute on Drug Abuse - MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy)


Iowa Advisory - New Synthetic Drug Threat - July 17, 2017

Iowa on Alert for New Class of Dangerous Synthetic Drugs - June 10, 2016

Governor Branstad Signs Synthetic Drug Legislation - May 25, 2012

Printed from the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy website on March 21, 2018 at 5:19pm.