Patterns of synthetic cannabis use in Australia: Legislative impacts

  • Research program: Harm reduction policy and strategies
  • Project status: Completed
  • Start date: October 2011
  • Expected end date: December 2012
  • Completion date: November 2012
  • Funded by: unfunded
  • Lead organisation:

Synthetic cannabis products include a large range of psychoactive substances and branded products that reportedly produce cannabis-like effects. In Australia, the most common brand names are Kronic, K2, Northern Lights, and Aussie Gold. To create synthetic cannabis, manufacturers spray one or more of the following chemicals onto inert plant matter: the JWH family (e.g., JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-250, JWH-398), CP - 47,497, AM694, and HU-210. Between June and August 2011, all states and territories of Australia passed laws or announced their intentions to prohibit the use of synthetic cannabis. This study aims to: (1) describe how synthetic cannabis is used and the reported effects of use; and (2) describe the knowledge of and attitudes towards the legal status of synthetic cannabis and assess the self-reported impact of recent prohibitions upon the use of both synthetic and non-synthetic cannabis among an Australian sample. Participants will be primarily recruited from online forums representing cannabis, illicit drug and entheogen using cultures in Australia to complete an anonymous online survey.

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location
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Professor Simon Lenton
Tel: 61 (0)8 9266 1603
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Harm reduction policy and strategies


  • Principal Investigator: Monica Barratt, University of New South Wales
  • Project staff: Vince Cakic, University of Sydney

Dr Monica Barratt
Research Fellow
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Barratt, M., J., Cakic, V. and Lenton, S. (2013). Patterns of synthetic cannabinoid use in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32, pp. 141-146. DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00519.x [RJ849] View web page

Bright, S., J. and Barratt, M., J. (2013). The Kronic chronicles. Prevention in Action – Australian Drug Foundation, April, pp. 4-5. [UJ188]

Bright, S., J., Bishop, B., Kane, R., Marsh, A. and Barratt, M., J. (2013). Kronic Hysteria: Exploring the intersection between Australian synthetic cannabis legislation, the media, and drug-related harm. International Journal of Drug Policy, 24, pp. 231-237. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2012.12.002 [RJ877] View web page

Barratt, M., J. and Bright, S., J. (2012). Legal highs: what should we do about synthetic cannabis? The Conversation. [UJ186] View web page

Bright, S., J. and Barratt, M., J. (2012). Kronic Hysteria: Emerging drugs and the consequences of prohibition. Victorian Alcohol & Drug Association News, Apr, pp. 5. [UJ180] View web page