Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as "K2" or "Spice" mimic the main psychoactive ingredient THC, found in marijuana.

Synthetic cannabinoids do not contain cannabis but they can produce a hallucinatory effect anywhere between four and fifty times more potent than the THC found in marijuana.

Data collected from emergency room visits and poison control centers reveals an increase in synthetic drug overdoses in the United States since 2011.

In 2016, NIDA reported more than 2,000 calls to poison control centers for K2 use. In 2011, hospitals tallied more than 28,000 visits to emergency rooms related to K2.

Synthetic cannabinoids have a wide range of effects that vary in severity including:

  • Elevated mood
  • Relaxation
  • Altered perception
  • Symptoms of psychosis
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Confusion

Some severe side effects include violent behavior, suicidal thoughts, seizures, and as seen in New Haven, a high potential for overdose.

The use of synthetic drugs create challenges for employers and laboratories because these substances change often. Luckily, recently legislation now uses broader boundaries to prohibit the entire class of synthetic chemicals.

According to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, "There is an increasingly expanding array of synthetic drugs available. The contents and effects of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones are unpredictable due to a constantly changing variety of chemicals used in manufacturing processes devoid of quality controls and government regulatory oversight."

Scientific experts are continuously monitoring and making adjustments to the panels with the goal to create a standard panel that can detect the most relevant synthetic drug products. Many laboratories and service providers work together to refine and update the synthetic drug panels based on information given from the NFLIS and the DEA.

The most updated and current synthetic cannabinoids panel tests for 15 drugs. Analytes and metabolites are the most common detected substances based upon the most current research.

Many employers are considering including synthetic drug testing in their workplace program and updating their policy to specifically prohibit the use and possession of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic stimulants, which we can provide the policy for you. Synthetic drug testing is well-suited for post-accident and reasonable suspicion drug testing.

With the concerning numbers of synthetic marijuana, it is important for employers to incorporate the 15 panel synthetic drug test in their workplace policy. Not only will this ensure safety in the workplace, but can also save someone’s life. We can provided the workplace policy as well as the 15 panel synthetic drug panel test.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the test or want more information on synthetic drugs, give us a call at 800-828-7086 or visit our website at