Incense and Bath Salt Intoxicants

I've been hearing about kids ingesting bath salts and incense to get high for the past year.  I had never heard of this before.  These synthetic legal intoxicating drugs (SLIDs) have come on the scene and have increased in popularity.  Who would want to snort bath salts or smoke incense?   What the heck are these things?

Although they are sold as bath salts and incense to avoid FDA regulation, they are really powerful psychoactive drugs that can have intoxicating effects.  They are sold over the counter at quick-marts and on the Internet.  Herbal incense products affect the cannabinoid receptors in the brain just like marijuana (THC).  Although they differ in chemical structure from natural occurring cannabinoids, they affect the same receptors and can be stronger than THC with potential for overdose and severe toxic effects.  Some of the effects reported by emergency departments and poison control centers were agitation, anxiety, dysphoria, elevated blood pressure, hallucinations, nausea, paranoia, seizures and tachycardia.  Natural THC rarely affects users in this way.

Bath salts are also labeled "not for human consumption" in an effort to bypass laws governing mind-altering substances.  Two of the more common ingredients are 3,4-methylene-dioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and 4-methyl-cathinone (mephedrone).  The effect is on the dopamine and norepinepherine reuptake inhibitor that acts as a powerful stimulant.

The US government made it illegal to possess or sell any substance containing MDPV or Mephedrone for one year to allow the DEA time to collect data.  These are difficult to regulate, however,  because new stimulants and formulations take their place and are freely sold.  There are numerous sites on the Internet where you can buy these substances and they are so blatant they show up in "google ads".

Most patients that become intoxicated with SLID drugs exhibit anxiety, agitation and psychosis.  Seizures and chest pain have been reported along with a number of deaths.  The clinical effects persist for more than 24 hours which is far longer than other drugs in this class.  Emergency Room physicians need to be on high alert that patients who present with psychiatric symptoms or seizures with elevated blood pressure and tachycardia may have SLID intoxication.

These are very dangerous substances with benign names.  "Bath Salts" and "Incense" (also known as "Spice" or "K2") are truly not for human consumption.

This blog was originally posted at EverythingHealth