The abuse of synthetic psychoactive substances known as "designer drugs," or " new psychoactive substances" (NPS), is increasing at an alarming rate. NPS are purchased as alternatives to traditional illicit drugs of abuse and are manufactured to circumvent laws regulating the sale and use of controlled substances. Synthetic cathinones (i.e., "bath salts") and synthetic cannabinoids (i.e., "spice") are two types of NPS that have received substantial media attention. Although low recreational doses of bath salts or spice compounds can produce desirable effects, high doses or chronic exposure often leads to dangerous medical consequences, including psychosis, violent behaviors, tachycardia, hyperthermia, and even death. Despite the popularity of NPS, there is a paucity of scientific data about these drugs. Here we provide a brief up-to-date review describing the mechanisms of action and neurobiological effects of synthetic cathinones and cannabinoids.
Baths salts, spice, and related designer drugs
The science behind the headlines
Baumann, M. H., Solis, E., Watterson, L. R., Marusich, J. A., Fantegrossi, W. E., & Wiley, J. L. (2014). Baths salts, spice, and related designer drugs: The science behind the headlines. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(46), 15150-15158. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3223-14.2014
To contact an RTI author, request a report, or for additional information about publications by our experts, send us your request.
Multifaceted risk for non-suicidal self-injury only versus suicide attempt in a population-based cohort of adults
Community overdose surveillance
Tailoring off the shelf global evidence with local implementation research can boost action on overweight and obesity