Spice is synthetic cannabis. Smoking, eating or drinking Spice in tea can get you high. But synthetic cannabis side effects can range from euphoria to psychosis. More on Spice, how it works and its harmful effects here.
What’s in Spice?
Spice is a smoke-able mixture of synthetic cannabinoids and herbal plant products. However, it’s not easy to determine exactly what is in Spice. There are currently over 140 synthetic cannabinoids on the market And as there is no oversight of the manufacturing process, Spice blends vary in ingredients and potency. The main chemical compounds that are found in Spice often include:
But what exactly is a synthetic cannabinoid? And are synthetics used in medical settings?
Spice chemistry and use
Synthetic cannabinoids are chemically engineered compounds that produce psychoactive effects similar to those caused by the active ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana. Effects of smoking synthetic weed are the same as THC but are chemically and structurally very different than the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved synthetic cannabinoids for human consumption at all. However, synthetic cannabinoids have been developed over the last 30 years for research purposes to investigate the cannabinoid system – specifically cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. No legitimate non research uses have been identified for compounds contained in Spice.
How does Spice work?
Synthetic cannabinoids work by triggering chemical reactions in the body. Specifically, Spice ingredients produce agonistic activity on the CB1 receptor in the central nervous system. This chemical reaction is responsible for elevating mood and inducing a feeling of well-being. But why is Spice more potent than THC?
Higher potency of action achieved by synthetic cannabinoids might be explained by the theory that while THC acts as a partial agonist on the CB1 receptor, synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018 acts a a full and potent agonist. Moreover, compared with THC, JWH-018 possesses approximately a four times higher affinity to the cannabinoid CB1 receptor and 10-fold higher affinity to CB2 receptor in the central nervous system. So, the chemical compounds in Spice can trigger more intense reactions as they bind to receptor sites in the body.
Spice and euphoric effect
Spice is often sold as incense and labeled “not for human consumption”, but people ignore this. Why? Because Spice can get you high. But you can also hallucinate, have a seizure or even die when you use Spice. However, because Spice ingredients can produce similar or more potent effects than THC people take the risk. Sometimes, euphoric or central nervous system effect can be 5 – 10 – 100 times more potent from Spice than from cannabis. So how harmful is Spice?
Is Spice harmful?
Although some Spice users have reported effects similar to or even stronger than those obtained by smoking marijuana, others have reported serious adverse reactions. Effects of Spice on the nervous system can include:
- changes in perception
- intense anxiety and agitation
- panic attacks
- physical relaxation
- tremors, seizures or convulsions
Getting high on Spice
The subjective effects of Spice are highly variable, ranging from mild to strong with feelings of relaxation and mild euphoria. But even though you can get high on Spice, smoking Spice comes with some serious risks. First, it is difficult to predict the short and long term effects of using Spice, because the drugs in Spice have not been studied for more than a few years. Secondly, you never know what you’re going to smoke. Spice mixtures change frequently, and you may wind up with a package of high dose contents without knowing it.
Can you get addicted to Spice?
Yes, you can get addicted to Spice. Spice seems to have about the same addiction potential as marijuana. Both drugs can lead to addiction as the body builds up tolerance to the drug’s effects over time and craves a higher dose to achieve the same effect. Plus, you may experience withdrawal when you stop taking Spice. However, the main component of addiction is psychological cravings. If you use Spice compulsively despite negative consequences in your life, then you may be addicted to Spice.
Am I addicted to Spice?
Only you can really answer this question. If you think that you have a problem with Spice, then you probably do. Seek help from your family doctor or a drug addiction counselor or take an online test to evaluate your use and addiction potential. Treatment for all types of drug addiction is possible. And you can live life without Spice.
More Spice questions? Let us know. We’ll be happy to help. We will answer all legitimate questions with a personal response. If you want information on finding treatment where you live, please send us an email. We can research local resources for you if you provide us with your city and state.