Synthetic cannabinoids share comparable properties to cannabinoids like THC or CBD. These cannabinoids are agonists of the endocannabinoid framework. They're intended to emulate the impacts of THC to give a feeling of getting “high”. 

Synthetic cannabinoids have never been checked for safety even though there are dozens of formulas classified as synthetic CBD. People have reported experiencing extreme side effects either physically or psychologically, very different from when compared to marijuana (2018).

Significant amounts of research have shown that normal THC is quite safe and is unlikely to lead to an overdose. But synthetic cannabinoids on the other hand are very different because they interact with several receptors at once resulting in unwanted side effects. 

What Is The Legality Stance on Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids have been outlawed in North America and several other countries.

However, these cannabinoids are still sold under a wide range of names, the most unavoidable being K2 or Spice. Joker and black mamba are just some of the whacky names given to these products. 

Governments started outlawing these cannabinoids after numerous reports of individuals encountering enduring physical or mental side effects. Makers would create and advertise another product that evaded the new guidelines right after the government would boycott a specific atom. 

The government finally put a stop to these loopholes by making all New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) illegal.

Spice Expansion: 

Unfortunately, banning spice made the issue much worse. This is because there are no real restrictions in the black market, and manufacturers could make effective versions of their stuff. The spice that started spreading on the streets under the radar was entirely something else as it was much more addictive and dangerous. However, what is the reason that so many people are addicted to spice?

Chemistry with K2 and Spice:

These synthetic cannabinoids’ original use was only to be used in research. But once these methods of production were made public, illegal drug manufacturers modified the recipe into something extremely addictive that they could sell. They are essentially created from dried leaf matter that has been infused with different chemicals (Watson, 2018). These drugs started to appear on the streets around 2010 (Watson, 2018).


Are They Safe?

Synthetic cannabinoids are not considered to be safe at all as of yet. There still needs to be official research performed on synthetic cannabinoids aside from approved medicinal products. The term research chemical is given to these products because of the scarcity of information available.

Many people mistake marijuana legality with synthetic cannabinoids legality, they think that if marijuana is safe then these cannabinoids are safe and this cannot be further from the truth (Watson, 2018). Some side effects from this drug include vomiting, seizures, unusual behavior, rapid heart rate, and so on.

The addictive nature drives people to overdose on these substances. And since synthetic cannabinoids are multiple times stronger than natural cannabinoids, the effects are also extreme which results in several deaths each year.

What Are The Main Types of Synthetic Cannabinoids?

There are mainly three types of synthetic cannabinoids.

  • Classical Cannabinoids 
  • Hybrid Cannabinoids
  • Eicosanoids

Another unique group binds to the same receptors called non-classical cannabinoids.

Classical Cannabinoids

Classical cannabinoids allude to the mixtures normally created by the plant or manufactured isomers of these atoms. CBD has a similar general shape and construction to these. 

A classical cannabinoid is defined as any normal or engineered ABC-tricyclics consolidating a benzopyran moiety. They include a sweet-smelling part and an alicyclic part. Synthetic classical cannabinoids include AM-993, AM-994, 9-Ketocannabinoid (Nabilone), and so on.


The human body makes its cannabinoids (the eicosanoids) to cooperate with the endocannabinoid framework. An eicosanoid is an enormous gathering of flagging atoms like chemicals or synapses that are produced using arachidonic corrosive. 

There are a few manufactured eicosanoids fostered that can collaborate with the endocannabinoid framework, including engineered forms of normally happening endocannabinoids. Eicosanoids include N-arachidonoyl dopamine, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, anandamide, and so on.


Non-Classical Cannabinoids

This is unchartered territory in terms of cannabinoids because there are endless possibilities here. Cannabinoids produced by illegal drug manufacturers are non-classical cannabinoids. This class alludes to any mixtures associated with the endocannabinoid framework that does not have the benzopyran ring of the traditional cannabinoids. While the synthetic structure is different, they have many of the same properties as cannabinoids like THC. Some non-classical cannabinoids are Cyclohexylphenols, Adamantoylindoles, and Naphthoylindoles. 

Hybrid Cannabinoids

Hybrid cannabinoids come from parts of non-traditional cannabinoids. Makriyannis and Tius found the primary mixture cannabinoid in 1994. 

From that point forward, drug organizations like Sanofi have created different mixtures that are presently being investigated for their restorative worth. Hybrid Cannabinoids are diarylpyrazoles, aminoalkylindoles, and HU-210 Derivatives.

Delta 8 THC Classification 

Delta 8 THC is created naturally in plants, so it is not considered a synthetic cannabinoid. However, contrary to normal extraction methods of natural cannabinoids, delta 8 THC isn’t available in sufficient quantities for this to be possible. The solution is to change more readily available cannabinoids into delta THC isomers. This is a naturally derived process where we convert a natural substance into another naturally occurring substance in the lab, so while the process is considered to be synthetic, the material produced is far from what’s considered to be a synthetic cannabinoid. Because of the way delta 8 THC is produced, it is entirely predictable that in terms of legality, it is in a gray area at the moment despite not having any of the detrimental effects of synthetic cannabinoids (Kiefer, 2021).

In Conclusion:

There is still a long way to go in terms of proving the safety of synthetic cannabinoids in regulated amounts. But due to safety concerns and restrictions placed by the government, this seems very unlikely to happen in the near future. Traditional CBD products have none of the side effects of synthetic cannabinoids and can be vastly beneficial to you from relieving pain to potentially warding off life-threatening diseases.



CDC. (2018, April 24). Synthetic cannabinoids: What are they? What are their effects? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Watson, S. (2018, September 10). K2/Spice: What to Know About These Dangerous Drugs. WebMD. 

Glass bottle with cannabis oil and a test tube with hemp leaves on a marble background. Copy space.