Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2, Spice)

A substance often called "fake weed," "K2," and "spice" can cause severe bleeding and possibly death. These products are found across the U.S. in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and online.

The Latest News:

Wisconsin Case Counts: March 30-October 2, 2018
Type of Cases Number of Cases
Confirmed 67
Probable 16
Total cases reported to DPH 83

Counties with confirmed cases: Dane, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Racine, and Rock.

If you have purchased any of these products in the past month, do not use it. If you have used any of these products, and start experiencing severe, unexplained bleeding or bruising, please have someone take you to the hospital immediately or call 911. Do not walk or drive yourself. Tell your health care providers about the possible link between your symptoms and synthetic cannabinoid use.


About Synthetic Cannabinoids

Image of Synthetic Cannabinoids fact sheet "K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Fake Weed, Green Giant"

Synthetic cannabinoids are not one drug. Hundreds of different synthetic cannabinoid chemicals are manufactured and sprayed on dried plant material or sold as liquids to be inhaled in products like e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. New cannabinoid chemicals with unknown health risks are available each year.

Synthetic cannabinoid products are unsafe, and the health effects from using them can be unpredictable, harmful, and even life threatening. CDC is currently monitoring data across the nation regarding outbreaks.

Alternate Names for Synthetic Cannabinoids

These products are sold under various names including:

  • Black Mamba
  • Bling Blang Monkey
  • Bombay Blue
  • Climax
  • Cloud 9
  • Fake Weed
  • Genie
  • Joker
  • K2
  • Kisha Cole
  • Legal Weed
  • Matrix
  • OMG
  • Phantom
  • Red, Blue, or Yellow Giant
  • Releaf
  • Scooby Snax
  • Spice
  • Zohai




Health Professional Information

In patients who present with bleeding not from an injury and not otherwise explained, including nosebleeds, bleeding of the gums, bruising, vomiting blood, blood in urine or stool, or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, ED and urgent care providers are encouraged to:

  1. Ask patients if they have used synthetic cannabinoids within the last three months. Terms for these products may include K2, Spice, Synthetic Marijuana, Fake Weed, Legal Weed, and Genie.
  2. If the patient reports synthetic cannabinoid use or you suspect use, check the patient’s INR before releasing them.

Additional Clinical Information
           Fact Sheet for Physicians
           Patient Fact Sheet

DPH Webinar on Synthetic Cannabinoid Investigation - 7/6/2018
Synthetic Cannabinoid Initial Questionnaire
Synthetic Cannabinoid One Week Follow-Up Survey
WSLH Request for Brodifacoum
WSLH Quantitative Brodifacoum Testing Instructions
DPH Memos
DPH Synthetic Cannabinoid Memo for Pharmacies - 6/22/2018 (PDF)
DPH Synthetic Cannabinoid Memo for Hospital Emergency Department and Urgent Care Clinicians - 6/22/2018 (PDF)
DPH Synthetic Cannabinoid Memo for Emergency Healthcare Workers and Emergency Medical Services - 6/22/2018 (PDF)
Illinois Webinar
The Illinois Department of Health has released a short webinar for clinicians on synthetic cannabinoids.


Media requests should go to the DHS media or 608-266-1683.

Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, call 211 or 833-944-4673 to learn about all treatment services available in Wisconsin.

Last Revised: November 7, 2018

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