Does Spice contain THC?

No. Spice does not contain THC. Spice contains synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetics are structurally different than THC although they trigger similar reactions in the body. More on what’s in Spice here.

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No. Spice does not have THC in it.

Instead, Spice is made of a combination of synthetic cannabinoids. Dangers of synthetic weed include induced psychotic episodes and hallucinations.  But how are synthetics both similar to and different than active ingredients in cannabis? More here on the structural and functional qualities of Spice and marijuana.

What’s in Spice?

Spice products contain dried plant material which has been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoid compounds, such as JWH-018 and HU-210. There are currently 140+ known synthetic cannabinoids. Spice mixtures contain one or dozens of these cannabinoids.

How are Spice ingredients and THC similar?

The chemically engineered compounds that are most often present in Spice blends include JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol. These compounds share pharmacological similarities with THC. How?

The synthetic cannabinoid ingredients found in Spice bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the body as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. So Spice and marijuana are similar in the way that they effect the body. Common effects of both Spice and marijuana include:

  • changes in perception
  • mild euphoria
  • physical relaxation

How are Spice ingredients and THC different?

As mentioned above, the cannabinoids found in Spice bind to the same receptors in the body as THC. How long does THC stay in urine?  For days to weeks after ingestion. However, some types of cannabinoids like those that are in Spice bind more strongly to the receptors, increasing half life AND potency. Medical analysts believe this action of stronger binding leads to higher potency that produces a much more powerful and unpredictable effect.

In fact, adverse health effects may be associated with higher doses of synthetic cannabinoids. Doses are difficult to predict because when you use Spice, you don’t really know what’s inside a pack of Spice because the content ingredients are not listed on the package. Furthermore, Spice products vary in the composition and concentration of synthetic cannabinoids. Which makes each package unique and potentially dangerous.

Plus, some effects of getting high on Spice are non-typical of THC intoxication. These more serious and severe side effects of using Spice include:

  • abnormally rapid heart beat
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • elevated blood pressure
  • intense hallucinations
  • jittery-ness
  • non-responsiveness
  • psychotic episodes
  • seizures
  • tremor
  • vomiting

It is important to note here that long-term effects of Spice have not been studied. Spice ingredients have been around for less than 30 years, so researchers do not know how Spice effects the body and mind in the long-term. However, withdrawal, depression, and dependency issues are associated with use of synthetic cannabinoids found in Spice.

Do you have a Spice problem?

Spice can be addictive. If you think that you have a problem with Spice, you probably do. Tolerance to Spice can build over time, requiring that you use more to achieve a similar effect. Likewise, you can go through withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Spice. Finally, you’ll know you are addicted when you cannot stop using Spice, despite negative consequences in your life.

We can help you find local resources, counseling, or addiction treatment centers. If you want help, please let us know. Ask any question about Spice and we will try to answer you personally and promptly. You are never alone when you want to get better!

Reference sources: Beyond THC: The New Generation of Cannabinoid Designer Drugs
NIDA Info Facts on Spice


About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Hello my name is Monica and I’m addictive to 7h another form of k2 but I want help with my problem so I can help others please respond and help because I’m screaming for it!

  2. Intensity on the important concerns of this topic though i watched the ness and t.v. yet interesting enough there’s nothing on the NEWS…

  3. Hi Lex. Thanks for your comment. The original article comes from research provided by the National Institutes of Health, so is pretty trustworthy. I cannot attest to the accuracy of the comments, though. What is your main concern?

  4. add blog, is this info safe? and stop smoking is to hard because my GF also smokes and its now all we do, i hate it that im smart enough to know this is harming me and my socialc life… but im not smart enough to quit why? what can i do?

    brandon how old are you? why 400 a week? and im here to talk as im in the same situation as you. i dont have anyone to go to personally. so i am online like to me, you might help me out to

  5. Hi my name is brandOn I have been smoking incense for two years non stop everyday I find I’m spending at least 400 dollars a week and it’s making my chest hurt and non stop coughing I jus want to quit this stuff if anybody has any advise or is in the same position I’m in please talk to me I feel like I’m going crazy without it is this normal and when will it go away

  6. Hi Lex. If you are really ready to stop smoking Spice, do you know what to expect? And is there anyone nearby who can help you go through withdrawal?

  7. hey,im 21 and i enjoy me some pot, but on papers so i smoke this incense called cloud nine, i always told my friends dont smoke that, i would say if it gets you high in less than a hit than its like crack ,but now look at me, smoking it like crazy, and ive come to terms that its gotten me addicted i think. i wake up needing to smoke at 2am/ 4 am ect. i smoke like 3 bowls n hour. seriously, i dont want to be addicted and i just want to smoke weed.FORGET INCENSE, this cant be doing me good, i want change so bad

  8. You’re supposed to smoke it in small amounts. If you drain a 1gram joint of just Spice then of course you’re going to not enjoy it. The most you even need is half a bowl for pipes, like .25-.5g will give you hallucinations. More than that every week, you will quickly become addicted. It’s a once in a while thing unlike marijuana.

  9. Hi Jack. Thanks for your comments. It sounds like you are experiencing quite a bit of anger, resentment, and difficulty trying to come to terms with Spice. Although some of the compounds of Spice are illegal in some countries and states (, the compounds that are created are not quick enough for governments to ban.

    Please let us know how we can help. We hope to offer resources and information here to prevent people from starting to smoke herbal incense, or to get help after they experience problems.

  10. Although your description of the effects sound really good, “relaxation and euphoria” are not the words that I would choose to describe the high from the “Spice” at my local mart. THE EFFECTS FROM THE WICKED X INCENSE LAST WEEK:
    immediate vomiting
    dangerously elevated heart rate
    intense dehydration and muscle spasms
    NOTHING LIKE MARIJUANA!! NOT RELAXING OR EUPHORIC!! The hellish withdrawal that I am going through right now is nothing like pot!

  11. You know, it was the Internet “Spice” comparisons to cannibus that enticed me to try herbal incense. When I read how chemically similar the two were, I was more than ready to try a legal alternative to pot. But…I haven’t seen the incense with the cannabinoids on the market for about 15 months (I’ve looked for the old K-2 in two states with no luck). When we knew for sure what was in this crap, it was a very different story.

    The incense being sold now has nothing to do with cannabinoids. Further, for your readers out there over the age of 20, “Spice” is a now banned brand of herbal “incense” that is being incorrectly used here to refer to the hundreds of different brands and labels of the drug. I think that a more accurate term is herbal incense because that is the cover that the manufacturers are using to sell the stuff…ie. it’s not fake weed, it’s herbal incense not to be consumed by humans…wink.

    Also, by coining this poison “synthetic marijuana” you are practically selling this for the distributors. The junk that’s on the shelves right now is mostly damiana leaf sprayed with unknown chemicals that are far cheaper to produce than a synthetic cannabinoid. I think the chemical(s) are closer to insecticide or arsenic these days.

    I’d like to see you stop glorifying Spice and let the stories, ER visits, and heart damage speak for itself.

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