Spice

What is Spice?

Image
synthetic drug "spice" in a plastic bag

Photo by © Shutterstock/gaikova

Spice is a mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and laboratory-made chemicals with mind-altering effects. It is sometimes misleadingly called  “synthetic marijuana” or "fake weed" because some of the chemicals in it are similar to ones in marijuana. But, its effects are sometimes very different from marijuana, and often much stronger. Usually, the chemicals are sprayed onto plant materials to make them look like marijuana. 

Because the chemicals used in Spice have a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit, the Drug Enforcement Administration has made many of the active chemicals  found in Spice illegal. However, the people who make these products try to avoid these laws by using different chemicals in their mixtures.

Spice is most often labeled "not for human consumption" and disguised as incense. Sellers of the drug try to lead people to believe it is “natural” and therefore harmless, but it is neither. In fact, the actual effects of spice can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or cause death.

How Spice is Used

Most people smoke Spice by rolling it in papers (like with marijuana or handmade tobacco cigarettes); sometimes, it is mixed with marijuana. Some people also make it as an herbal tea for drinking. Others buy Spice products as liquids to use in e-cigarettes. 

Image
Citation Quotes Icon

Cite This Content

Content on this site is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.