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Synthetic Cannabinoids in Ireland: HSE update

There is a risk of synthetic cannabinoids appearing in herbal (plant material),vape/liquid, edibles sold as THC products in Ireland. As of January 2023, the HSE advise the public that there is a high level of risk associated with THC edibles currently being sold on the drug market in Ireland, as they may not contain THC but instead contain a synthetic cannabinoid.

See our update on synthetic cannabinoids to help you stay informed about the current drug market trends of concern. 

What are synthetic cannabinoids?

Since around 2006, ‘legal high’ products containing synthetic cannabinoids have been sold in Europe as ‘herbal smoking mixtures’ and marketed as ‘legal’ replacements for cannabis. These substances would have formally been sold in Head Shops in Ireland labelled as 'Spice', 'Black Mamba' and other commercial brand names.These substances continue to emerge on the drug market despite the closure of Head Shops. More recently, these substances have been appearing in cannabis products throughout Europe without consumer’s knowledge.

The effects of synthetic cannabinoids will be much stronger than that of cannabis and will greatly increase the risks for those who consume.These products do not contain cannabis but are intended to produce similar, more potent effects. However, they should not be confused with cannabis.

Their use has caused many serious poisonings and deaths internationally in recent years. There have also been outbreaks of mass poisonings due to their use.

Find out more about these substances on our site here.

Signs of concern to look out for include

What are the latest developments?

Current warning in Ireland 

On the 6th of January 2023, the HSE issued a risk communication on the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids in products sold as THC edibles. A small number of hospitalisations have occurred following the consumption of edible products (Jolly Rancher jellies) during the period of December 2022 in the Tipperary Region. Upon analysis from Forensic Science Ireland, these edible products have been found to contain new and risky substances known as synthetic cannabinoids.

Find out more about this risk communication here

What substances have been previously found in cannabis products in Ireland?

Through Forensic Science Ireland who analyse drug seizures, we are aware of the below substances appearing in Ireland in 2021.

As shown by FSI synthetic cannabinoids have appeared across a range of products, including sweets. 

Risk reduction for people who use cannabis products 

Further information on synthetic cannabinoids in Europe 



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