Despite widespread media attention throughout the country over the past few years, relatively few people are using synthetic cannabinoid products compared to other drugs.

The Stats

  • Data from emergency room visits rose sharply in the early 2010s with the most recent national numbers reaching almost 30,000 (from 2011, compared to 2.5 million ER visits in 2011 from all drugs).
  • Calls to poison control centers started climbing around the same timeframe, going from a couple thousand in 2013 to almost 8,000 in 2015.
  • A survey of 8th-12th graders showed less than 5% of 8th graders had tried synthetic cannabinoid products in the past year for 2012-2015, less than 10% for 10th graders, and aside from 2012, less than 10% of 12th graders.

Even when synthetic cannabinoid use peaked in survey data around 2012, overall prevalence has remained relatively low compared to other drugs. While no specific measures are available, people that continue to use synthetic cannabinoids are likely those looking for a cheaper alternative to other drugs or to pass drug tests.

See the fact sheet for more information and sources.