Synthetic cannabinoid use: a case series of adolescents

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Oct;49(4):347-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.08.002.


Purpose: Synthetic cannabinoid products have been increasingly used by adolescents for the past few years, but little literature exists describing their psychoactive and physical effects. This study describes the psychoactive and physical effects of synthetic cannabinoids as reported by adolescent users.

Methods: This study reviewed the records of 11 individuals aged 15-19 years who were evaluated at the South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The average age of the subjects was 17.3 years (standard deviation = 1.35; range (R) = 15, 19); 10 of 11 (91%) were male and 10 of 11 were Hispanic. The charts of youth who admitted use of synthetic cannabinoids were reviewed. Demographic information, characteristics of the substance, and descriptions of the psychoactive and physical effects were abstracted from the standardized, semi-structured clinician interviews.

Results: All the subjects reported a feeling of euphoria and memory changes. Nine (82%) reported negative mood changes. Marijuana and alcohol use was also reported by 10 (91%) subjects. The number of other drugs used was significantly correlated with the frequency of synthetic cannabinoid use (r = .896, p < .05).

Conclusions: Adolescent synthetic cannabinoid product users report significant psychoactive effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Cannabinoids*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Cannabinoids