Fake marijuana marketed as incense and cocaine substitutes sold as “bath salts,” “plant food” or “pond water cleaner” are among substances that can be in teens’ hands with the click of a button online or a stop at a local gas station.

Because they are not being sold for human consumption, these products are not considered to be a drug or controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration. Users who experience increased blood pressure and heart rate; agitation; hallucinations; extreme paranoia; delusions lasting for days and death are turning up in emergency departments across the United States, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). Poison control centers received more than 2,200 calls about the “bath salts” and more than 2,000 calls about synthetic marijuana in the first five months of 2011.

Bath salt/plant food products contain methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or methylmethcathinone (mephedrone) and are labeled with names including Red Dove, White Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave, White Lightning, Scarface and Hurricane Charlie, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Users inject, snort or eat the substance.

Synthetic marijuana is made in a laboratory and marketed as incense with such names as Spice, K2, Genie, Yucatan Fire, Sense, Smoke, Skunk and Zohai. The chemical in fake marijuana causes a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure and nausea, according to AAPCC.

Many states are trying to make it illegal to sell these products and others, such as the hallucinogenic Salvia divinorum plant and 2CE powder, which can be bought online.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents who find these products or suspect their child has used them to get high to seek help from a qualified professional. For details, visit the AAP Healthy Children Web site (click visitor or login):

For questions about possible exposure to these and other substances, contact your local poison center at 800-222-1222.

© 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics. This information may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.