Also Known As: Spice, Annihilation

Category: Hallucinogen

Products like ‘Spice’ are likely to contain synthetic cannabinoids which is a chemical produced to mimic the psychoactive effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active compound in cannabis. Herbal smoking mixtures tend to be a mix of inert plant ingredients that are sprayed with synthetic cannabinoid compounds. There is nothing natural or herbal about these compounds, they are man-made.

Similar to cannabis, comes as leaves, stalks and seeds.

Can be smoked.

Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the psychoactive effects of THC, although the effects can be much stronger than natural cannabis. People taking them can experience enhanced sensations and a feeling of heaviness as well as a rapid heart rate, nausea, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks and feeling withdrawn. People have also reported a strong urge to redose and an increase in mental health issues when using these substances.

Short term: The chemical composition and ingredients of herbal products like ‘Spice’ are changing all the time, and there are a wide range of possible synthetic cannabinoids that could be used, which is why you can never be sure what you’re getting or how it will affect you.

Long term: Regular use of products containing stronger synthetic cannabinoids may increase the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.

Experts are concerned that ‘Spice’ products containing synthetic cannabinoids have the potential to be more harmful than cannabis due to the way they are made and because the compounds present and their potency will be unknown to the user.

Products like ‘Spice’ which contain synthetic cannabinoids are Class B controlled drugs. This means that it is against the law to possess them, to give them away or to sell them. Possession can get you up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Supplying can get you up to fourteen years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Be aware, only forensic testing will identify if synthetic cannabinoids are in these ‘herbal smoking’ products. You can’t trust the labelling. Even if the label says it’s free of synthetic cannabinoids it might not be.

Remember: Having a criminal record can make it difficult for you to get a job or visa if you want to travel abroad.

What’s the difference between possession & supply (dealing)? What happens if you’re under 16?

Learn more about drugs and the law.