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Ages & Stages

Drug Appendix

Bottle of pills. Bottle of pills.

Types of Cannabinoids

Marijuana (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It contains at least 200 cannabinoids; best known are Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Most of the cannabinoids in marijuana have not been well-researched.

  • Slang terms include: pot, grass, weed, reefer, joint, herb, others.
  • Looks like: a green, brown or gray tobacco-like mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are the two most commonly used and hybridized varieties.
  • How it is used: rolled in cigarette paper (joint) or stuffed into a hollowed-out cigar (blunt) and smoked; also the leaves and flowers can be vaporized. It can also be mixed into foods – edibles and drinkables —brownies, for instance— and used to brew tea. Produces a high typically lasting two to three hours.

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

The main psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. THC content has increased significantly in the past 20 years in a given sample of marijuana, from ~4% to ~15% or higher.

  • Slang terms include: THC.
  • Looks like: soft gelatin capsules, or can be made into an elixir.
  • How it is used: ingested orally.

Hashish (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

The resinous material of the Cannabis plant, which is dried and then formed into cakes, balls and other shapes. It is usually more potent with a higher THC content than marijuana.

  • Slang terms include: hash, black Russian.
  • Looks like: brown or black cakes or resin balls.
  • How it is used: placed in a pipe or water pipe (bong) and smoked or vaporized.

Hash Oil (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

Neither hashish nor oil. What resembles oil is in fact one of several solvents that can be used to extract the psychotropic chemicals from the Cannabis plant. THC content: typically 15 percent or higher.

  • Looks like: a syrupy liquid, varying in color from amber to dark brown.
  • How it is used: added to a cigarette and smoked. A drop or two of hash oil produces the same psychoactive effect as a single marijuana joint.

Dronabinol (Schedule 3 Controlled Substance)

Synthetic THC, used to stimulate appetite and control nausea and vomiting in people with cancer and other serious illnesses.

  • Brand name: Marinol.
  • Looks like: tablets.
  • How it is used: ingested orally.

Nabilone (Schedule 2 Controlled Substance)

Synthetic cannabinoid similar to THC and with similar indications.

  • Brand name: Cesamet
  • Looks like: capsules
  • How it is used: ingested orally.


In clinical trials in the USA; clinically used in the UK and some European Countries, and Canada. Synthetic THC is used for treatment of pain in multiple sclerosis and cancer.

  • Looks like: oral spray
  • How it is used: sprayed in the mouth

Types of Inhalants


Amyl Nitrite/Butyl Nitrite (Unregulated)

Amyl nitrite is a flammable liquid once used to treat the heart condition angina pectoris; butyl nitrite is a vasodilator similar to amyl nitrite, but less potent.

  • Brand names: ram, thrust, liquid gold, others.
  • Slang terms for amyl nitrite include: poppers, snappers, pearls, amies, ames, boppers.
  • Slang terms for butyl nitrite include: rush, snappers, rush snappers, bolt, others.
  • Looks like: clear, yellowish liquids sold in tiny glass ampules or bottles. Both have a pungent, etherlike odor.
  • How it is used: Users place the container up to their nose and inhale the vapors. The ampules are snapped in half with the fingers, producing the pop! or snap! sound that gave these drugs their street names.

Gases (Nitrous Oxide and Those Used In Hair Spray, Spray Paint and Other Pressurized Aerosol Sprays) (Unregulated)

Nitrous oxide, found in whipped-cream cans and car fuel, is used medically as a general anesthetic.

  • Slang terms for nitrous oxide include: laughing gas, whippets, shoot the breeze, buzz, grocery-store high, nitro.
  • Looks like: nitrous oxide is sold in small metal cylinders with balloons.
  • How it is used: huffed directly from the can, bottle or container; from balloons; or from paper bags or a piece of clothing or cloth.

Liquid Solvents (Unregulated)

Glues, paints, nail-polish remover and other liquid solvents found in many household and industrial products.

  • Slang terms for liquid solvents include: air blast, Oz, spray.
  • How it is used: huffed directly from the can, bottle or container; or from paper bags or a piece of clothing or cloth.

Types of Hallucinogens

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

One of the most potent mood-altering chemicals, manufactured from an acid found in the fungus ergot.

  • Slang terms include: acid, barrels, window pane, blotter acid, cube, microdot, white dust, purple haze, sugar cubes, others.
  • Looks like: colored tablets, capsules; thin squares of gelatin; blotter paper impregnated with the colorless, odorless chemical and divided into small decorated squares. LSD is occasionally sold in liquid form.
  • How it is used: ingested orally; licked off the absorbent paper; the liquid and gelatin can be put in the eyes.

Mescaline/Peyote (Schedule I Controlled Substances)

Mescaline is the principal active ingredient in peyote, a small, spineless cactus plant indigenous to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Mescaline can also be manufactured synthetically.

  • Slang terms include: mescal, cactus buttons, cactus head, mesc, blue caps, moon, others.

Psilocybin/Psilocin (Schedule I Controlled Substances)

A pair of chemicals derived from wild mushrooms found in Mexico and Central America; can also be produced in the laboratory.

  • Slang terms include: psychedelic mushrooms, 'shrooms, purple passion, mushies, sacred mushrooms.

Diethyltryptamine (DET); NN-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT); Alpha-Ethyltryptamine (AET) (All Schedule I Controlled Substances)

A family of hallucinogens, all closely related to one another in chemical structure and effects.

Ketamine (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

An anesthetic closely related to PCP; used by veterinarians primarily to immobilize cats and monkeys.

  • Brand names: Ketaset, Vetalar.
  • Slang terms include: K, special K, ket, kit kat, cat Valium, super acid, super C, bump.
  • Looks like: white crystalline powder, liquid, capsules.
  • How it is used: The liquid is injected, applied to marijuana or another smokable substance, or mixed into drinks. The powder, too, can be consumed as part of a drink, smoked or snorted.

Phencyclidine (PCP) (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

PCP was once used by veterinarians as an anesthetic for animals. So many young people abused the drug, though, that in 1978 the Drug Enforcement Administration reclassified Sernalyn, as it was known, as a schedule II drug. Its manufacturer discontinued phencyclidine shortly thereafter. Use among high-school seniors plummeted from about 12.8 percent in 1979 to 2.4 percent by 1992. PCP, considered one of the most dangerous drugs of abuse, can make users hostile and violent toward others or suicidal.

  • Slang terms include: angel dust, hog, animal trank, elephant, belladonna, DOA, magic dust, others.
  • PCP combined with marijuana: killer joints, supergrass.
  • PCP combined with crack: space blasting, star dust, white powder.
  • Looks like: crystalline powder ranging in color from white to tan to brown; also turns up on the market in the forms of tablets, capsules, liquids.
  • How it is used: ingested orally, injected, but most often applied to a leafy substance such as mint, parsley, oregano or marijuana, and smoked.

Selected Types of Narcotics

Heroin (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

Diacetylmorphine, a highly addictive narcotic derived from opium.

  • Slang terms include: smack, H, Big H, scag, scat, junk, black tar, China white, chiva, dope, others.
  • Looks like: white to dark-brown bitter powder, or tarlike or coal-like substance.
  • How it is used: injected just beneath the skin ("skin popping"), into a vein ("mainlining") or into a nasal passage ("shabanging"); smoked; snorted; heated on aluminum foil and inhaled ("chasing the dragon"); or dissolved in lemon juice and administered through a nose dropper.

Morphine (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

The major active substance in opium, and the source of its analgesic properties.

  • Brand names: Duramorph, M S Contin, MSIR, Oramorph, Roxanol.
  • Slang terms include: M, Miss Emma, Mister Blue, morph, dreamer, monkey.
  • Looks like: white crystals, tablets, injectable solution.
  • How it is used: ingested orally, injected or smoked.

Methadone (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

Synthetic morphine. Originally introduced as a painkiller, it is now used primarily in heroin-detoxification programs, to wean patients off heroin. Methadone is habit-forming, too.

  • Brand names: Dolophine, Methadose.
  • Slang terms include: junk, jungle juice, dolls, dollies, fizzies.
  • Looks like: tablets, oral solution.
  • How it is used: ingested orally.

Hydromorphone (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

A highly potent painkiller that is two to eight times stronger than morphine.

  • Brand name: Dilaudid.
  • Slang terms include: Lords, Little D.
  • Looks like: tablets, injectable solution, oral solution, white powder, cough syrup, rectal suppositories.
  • How it is used: ingested orally, inserted rectally; the tablets are also dissolved and injected as a substitute for heroin.

Fentanyl (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

Originally introduced in the 1960s as an intravenous anesthetic called Sublimaze. Now used in pain control too. More than one dozen analogs of fentanyl have been produced illegally.

  • Slang terms include: apache, friend, great bear, he-man, jackpot, king ivory, TNT, poison.

Meperidine (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

A synthetic opioid that produces effects similar to morphine.

  • Brand name: Demerol.
  • Slang terms include: Demmies.

Codeine (Schedule II, III, and IV Controlled Substance)

The most widely used naturally occurring opioid in medicine. Found in many pain relievers and cough medicines, either alone or in combination with aspirin or acetaminophen.

  • Slang terms include: schoolboy.

Dihydrocodeine (Schedule III Controlled Substance)

Combines a narcotic analgesic with aspirin and caffeine.

Pentazocine (Schedule IV Controlled Substance)

A pain reliever consisting of an opioid analgesic (Talwin); also combined with acetaminophen (Talacen) or naloxone (Talwin NX).

Propoxyphene (Schedule IV Controlled Substance)

An opioid manufactured alone or in combination with acetaminophen or aspirin.

Selected Types of Stimulants

Methylene Dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) (Ecstasy) Methylene Dioxyamphetamine (MDA) Methyldimethoxyamphetamine (DOM) (All Schedule I Controlled Substances)

Chemicals similar to mescaline and amphetamine, with both hallucinogenic and stimulant-like properties.

  • Slang terms for MDMA include: ecstasy, XTC, Adam, love drug, decadence, essence.
  • Slang terms for DOM include: STP.
  • Looks like: white powder, tablets, capsules.
  • How it is used: ingested orally, inhaled, injected.

Cocaine/Crack (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

A highly addictive stimulant derived from the leaves of the South American coca bush. In the 1980s, as prices for powdered cocaine were soaring, crack cocaine rose in popularity.

  • Slang terms for cocaine include: coke, blow, flake, snow, happy powder, gold dust, nose powder, nose candy, toot, white lady, Big C, Peruvian flake, Bolivian marching powder.
  • Slang terms for crack include: rock, base, baseball, bazooka, piece, kibbles and bits, gravel, one-fifty-one, teeth.
  • Cocaine combined with amphetamine: snow seals.
  • Crack combined with heroin: goofball, speedball, Belushi, whiz, bang, wings, witch.
  • Crack combined with marijuana: banano, bush, coca puff, hooter, woolah.
  • Crack smoked with PCP: parachute.
  • Looks like: cocaine: a snowy white powder; crack cocaine: small white to tan nuggets or crystalline rocks that resemble soap.
  • How it is used: Cocaine is snorted, or diluted in water and injected. Crack is smoked in a pipe or in a cigarette.

Amphetamines (Schedule II Controlled Substances)

"Amphetamines" is the collective name for three central-nervous-system stimulants: amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine. They are prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the sleeping disorder narcolepsy.

  • Brand names: Adderall (amphetamine); Dexedrine, DextroStat (dextroamphetamine); Desoxyn (methamphetamine); Biphetamine (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine).
  • Slang terms for amphetamines include: uppers, amies, amp, bennies, dexies, dominoes, pep pills, others.
  • Slang terms for methamphetamine include: meth, chalk, crystal meth, speed, crank, crypto, crystal, glass, ice.
  • Looks like: pills, capsules, tablets. "Ice," a smokable form of methamphetamine, is a clear, crystalline substance that resembles tiny chunks of ice.
  • How it is used: Amphetamines are ingested orally, snorted or injected. Ice can be snorted or injected too, but it is typically smoked in a glass pipe.

Methylphenidate (Schedule II Controlled Substance)

An amphetamine-like psychostimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. When abused, it produces the same effects as amphetamines.

  • Brand names: Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Methylin.
  • Slang terms when combined with heroin: pineapple.
  • Looks like: tablets.
  • How it is used: ingested orally. However, some narcotics addicts dissolve the tablets in water and inject the mixture. This practice can be highly dangerous, because the drug's fillers may block small blood vessels, seriously damaging the lungs and the retinas of the eyes.

Types of Depressants

Methaqualone (Schedule I Controlled Substance)

Introduced in 1965 as a safe substitute for barbiturates, Quaaludes quickly caught on with young people. "Luding out"—taking methaqualone with wine— became a popular practice during the 1970s. As it turned out, overdoses from Quaaludes were more difficult to treat than barbiturate overdoses. Although the drug was discontinued in the United States, methaqualone manufactured in other countries can occasionally be found on the street.

  • Brand names: Quaalude, Sopor.
  • Slang terms include: ludes, disco biscuits, lemmon 714s, love drug, Mandrax, vitamin Q.
  • Looks like: tablets.
  • How it is used: ingested orally.

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB); Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) (Schedule I Controlled Substances)

Two of the so-called "date-rape" drugs, along with flunitrazepam (Rohypnol). GHB and GBL have also been abused by bodybuilders as alternatives to anabolic steroids, although there is no evidence that they increase muscle mass or reduce body fat.

  • Slang terms include: cherry meth, easy lay, liquid ecstasy, grievous bodily harm.
  • Looks like: grainy white-colored or sandy-colored powder; a clear liquid sold in small bottles or vials.
  • How it is used: ingested orally by the capful or teaspoonful or mixed into a drink.

Benzodiazepines (Schedule IV Controlled Substances)

Benzodiazepines are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the United States today, and also one of the most frequently abused.

  • Brand names for short-acting benzodiazepines: estazolam (brand name: ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion).
  • Brand names for intermediate-acting benzodiazepines: alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), lorazepam (Ativan), and oxazepam (Serax). Clonazepam (Klonopin) is prescribed to treat seizures.
  • Slang terms for Rohypnol include: roofies, rophies, R-2, row-shay, ruffies, rib, rope, ruffles, ro, Roachies, date-rape drug, forget-me drug, Rochas dos, La Rocha, Mexican valium.
  • Slang terms for Librium include: L, lib.
  • Slang terms for Valium include: V, blues, drunk pills.
  • Looks like: tablets, capsules.
  • How it is used: ingested orally.

Types of Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic Steroids (Schedule III Controlled Substance)

  • Brand names: Android, Oreton Methyl, Testred, Virilon (methyltestosterone); Anadrol (oxymetholone); Anavar (oxandrolone), Delatestryl, Depo- Testosterone, Testoderm (testosterone); Dianabol (methandrostenolone); Durabolin, Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone); Equipoise (boldenone); Finajet (trenbolone); Halotestin (fluoxymesterone); Maxibolin (ethlestrenol); Winstrol (stanozolol).
  • Slang terms include: juice.
  • Looks like: tablets, capsules.
  • How it is used: ingested orally, injected, patch worn on skin.
Last Updated
Committee on Substance Abuse (Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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