Background: A wide range of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) is regularly
searched and discussed online by web-based drug enthusiasts (i.e. the e-psychonauts). Among NPS,
the range of synthetic cannabinoids (SC; ‘Spice’) currently represents a challenge for governments
Methods: Using a web crawler (i.e. the NPS.Finder®), the present study aimed at assessing psychonauts’
fora/platforms to better understand the online mentions of SC.
Results: The open-web crawling/navigating software identified here some 1,103 synthetic cannabinoids.
Of these, 863 molecules were not listed in either the international or the European NPS databases.
Conclusion: A web crawling approach helped here in identifying a large range of unknown SC
likely to possess a misuse potential. Most of these novel/emerging molecules are still relatively
unknown. This is a reason for concern; each of these analogues potentially presents different toxicodynamic
profiles and there is a lack of docking, preclinical, and clinical observations. Strengthening
multidisciplinary collaboration between clinicians and bioinformatics may prove useful in better
assessing SC-associated public health risks.