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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2012 Oct 30;132(20):2285-8. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.12.0471.

[Effect and occurrence of synthetic cannabinoids].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Divisjon for rettsmedisin og rusmiddelforskning, Nasjonalt folkehelseinstitutt, Norway.



''Spice'' is the term used for various products that contain synthetic cannabinoids. In recent years a growing number of products have been reported on the illegal market, also in Norway. The substances are sold over the internet as 'legal' cannabis. A number of the substances have gradually been classified as narcotics, also in Norway, but new variants continue to be developed. An overview is provided here of current knowledge of the efficacy and occurrence of synthetic cannabinoids.


The article is based on a discretionary selection of relevant articles found by means of a literature search in PubMed and on reports from Norwegian and European authorities and research institutions.


Synthetic cannabinoids are a large group of drugs of abuse that have an effect similar to cannabis, but may be considerably more potent. The contents of the various Spice products vary with respect to potency, purity and the number and types of additives, and this implies a risk of unintentional overdose. There are reports from abroad of cardiac infarction in teenagers, severe psychoses, anxiety, unconsciousness and deaths following use.


Synthetic cannabinoids are marketed over the internet as legal and harmless cannabis, but can cause severe intoxication and death. There is a considerable need for more knowledge about the action and harmful effects of these substances.

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