The term “spice” refers to products that have been sprayed with research chemicals that are called synthetic “cannabinoids” but do not actually contain any cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana. These chemicals are available commercially to the public. There are various forms of this synthetic and this particular variety in primarily manufactured in Asia and then sold to local markets throughout the U.S. The various types include:
• Chronic spice
• Spice gold
• Spice silver
• Yucatan fire
• Black mamba
• Red x dawn
• Mr. nice guy
• K3 legal
One can easily see the vast market here and this is just a sampling of the most popular varieties commonly used. They can be purchased in local markets such as gas stations, liquor stores, convenient stores, smoke shops, or even online. They are often sold as incense. Because spice and such other drugs have become such a massive problem in the United States, the sale of the various forms is consistently banned. The manufacturers merely change a molecule of the herbal based chemical and call it by another name and place it right back on the market.
They are said to imitate or mimic the properties of cannabis or marijuana.
This, however, is not entirely true. Hallucinations, seizures, respiratory failure, stroke and heart attacks are a few of the damaging repercussions of the concoction. These repercussions are rarely ever affiliated with marijuana use. The appeal of these drugs is extremely popular among the youth in America. They cannot be detected in a drug test, they are reasonably inexpensive when compared to other popular street drugs, and they are sold legally over the counter. In reality, the metabolites can be traced in human urine but, only when a costly drug test is administered. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
Effects of Spice
The effects can be similar to those of marijuana since the psychoactive ingredients are comparable to those of the naturally grown cannabis, a hallucinogen. The duration of the effects varies. Some studies show the effects can last for 10-30 minutes, while others report that the effects are felt for 1-3 hours. What is found to be true across the board with these synthetics is that it takes much less to feel the effects. One may smoke a whole marijuana cigarette to achieve the same effect as that from a single hit or two from the synthetic cannabis. The synthetics have tested up to 5 times more potent that some of the strongest marijuana. The receptors used to manufacture spice bind to the neurotransmitters of the brain. This false sense of euphoria cannot be replicated by the natural dopamine that occurs naturally so, the individual suffers extreme withdrawal symptoms when coming off of spice.
The withdrawal symptoms include tremors, palpitations, headache, nausea, vomiting, depression, and desperation.
Dangers of Using Spice
Until a drug has been thoroughly tested and researched, it cannot be assumed to be safe. This is the case with spice. Not only has it not be sufficiently researched and tested, it has been associated with several health risks. First and foremost, this substance was never meant for human consumption, which the packaging once reflected. What is known it that calls have been made to Poison Control, and area paramedics, trips to the E.R., attempted suicides, and traffic accidents all associated with the use of spice.
With good reason, it is thought to be fairly accurate that spice and similar synthetic cannabis products are toxic to the human body. Their base chemical structure is comparable to that of a known cancer causing agent, according to NIDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The use of spice and other synthetic cannabis are linked to such adverse reactions as:
• Panic attacks
• Increased anxiety
• Heart palpitations
• Mood swings
• Respiratory complications
• Altered perception
At least 2 users in the Dallas, Texas area have suffered heart problems, both linked to the use of spice. The sale of this and similar products has since been banned in Dallas. In Hutchinson, Kansas, 8 – 10 people were hospitalized after smoking the product experiencing hallucination, seizures and bleeding from the nose and mouth.
It is a good assumption that spice and related synthetic cannabis products of any kind are a serious threat to our society. Though there is extensive ongoing research on these substances, there is congruently enough evidence that they are totally unsafe and harmful. There are no known long term effects yet, only because its research is so new. If you know someone or suspect someone of abusing spice or other synthetic cannabis, please call 800-468-6933.
References: NIDA, HDAP
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