"reducing alcohol and drug related harm in our communities"
Key Information







K2, Spice Silver, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Spice Arctic Synergy, Spice Tropical Synergy, Spice Egypt, Spice Yukatan Fire, San Pedro Cactus, EcSess, Amsterdam Gold, Devil’s Weed, Hyper X


These mimic the psychoactive effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active principle in cannabis, and are found in ‘herbal’ smoking mixtures commonly sold as ‘Spice’ on the internet and in specialist ‘headshops’. Synthetic cannabinoid compounds are sprayed on to a mix of inert plant ingredients, usually free of tobacco or cannabis, to produce these smoking mixtures. It is not certain that every product sold as Spice will contain synthetic cannabinoids, not that synthetic cannabinoids will only be limited to ‘Spice’ products.


Spice products are packaged very professionally in small, often colourful sachets with labels describing the contents as incense or herbal smoking mixture and almost always stating: 'Not for human consumption'.

HEALTH RISKS (long term – including withdrawal and tolerance):

Health Risks associated with the use of Spice include, heart palpitations, respiratory issues, vomiting, delusions, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure and panic attacks.  The long term effects of Spice are still unknown.  Like cannabis, dependence on Spice products will be influenced by a number of factors, including how long you've been using it, how much you use and whether you are just more prone to become dependent. Users may find you have difficulty stopping regular use and you may experience psychological and physical withdrawals when you do stop.


Synthetic cannabinoids found in products like ‘Spice’ are now Class B drugs. The maximum penalty for possession is 5 years in prison and 14 years for supply.

  1. When synthetic cannabis blends first went on sale in the early 2000s it was thought that they achieved an effect through a mixture of legal herbs. Laboratory analysis in 2008 showed this was not the case and that they in fact contained synthetic cannabinoids which act on the body in a similar way to cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis, such as THC.
  2. The name “Spice” comes from the Frank Herbert Dune series of books.
  3. Although it purports to be an entirely natural mix of herbs and plants including Baybean and vanilla, the marijuana-type high that users get from Spice comes from a synthetic cannabinoid four or five times as potent as THC, the main psyschoactive substance in cannabis.+
  4. Users tend to smoke Spice in joints with a bit of tobacco, as smokers do with cannabis. Unlike cannabis it takes some time to produce an effect.
  5. In fact, Spice is not purely organic - it is a synthetic cannabinoid made in a laboratory.
  6. JWH-018 was first made in 1995 by an undergraduate student working under the supervision of John W Huffman, an organic-chemist at Clemson University in South Carolina in the US.
  7. Its synthetic additives mimic the effects of THC - the main ingredient in cannabis that gives the "high".
  8. Its effects are not fully understood but they stimulate the same receptors in the brain as marijuana.
  9. The drug has not been licensed and very little is known about how humans react to it but there are concerns that it is as powerful as skunk, a potent form of cannabis.
  10. Spice is marketed as an "exotic incense" and "not for human consumption" but it is considered to be a "herb for smoking". Some users say it gives the same high as cannabis and tastes better, but others have reported "LSD trip-like" bad after-effects.
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