Psyclones: A roller coaster of life? Hidden synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants in apparently harmless products

Rita Santacroce, Ornella Corazza, Giovanni Martinotti, Francesco Saverio Bersani, Giuseppe Valeriani, Massimo Di Giannantonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The urge to gain information on a new drug marketed online as 'Psyclone' has emerged after the death of a 38-year-old man in Bolton (UK). The fatality appeared to be a consequence of smoking this psychoactive product. Methods From October to December 2013, qualitative searches of the Web have been carried out in English and Italian, using the keywords 'Psyclone', 'Psyclone legal high', 'Psyclone incense' and 'Psyclone research chemical' on the Google search engine and on the database provided by the Global Public Health Intelligence Network. Results Our research highlighted the existence of two psychoactive products labelled as Psyclone but with different contents and packaging: a herbal blend containing two synthetic cannabinoids (AKB-48 and 5f-PB-22) and a research chemical containing 50% ethylphenidate, 30% caffeine and 20% lidocaine. Desired and side effects of both compounds are explored in the paper. Conclusions Being sold as a legal product, Psyclone may appeal to recreational users, who remain unaware of its real content. This is a serious public health threat, which may lead to acute intoxications and fatalities. Further studies in the field, including Internet monitoring, are therefore required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2015


  • caffeine
  • ethylphenidate
  • novel psychoactive substances
  • synthetic cannabinoids


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