Do You Really Know What Spice Is?
The growing popularity of Spice is causing considerable concerns among healthcare professionals and
law enforcement agencies. Spice consists of herbs that are technically legal in most parts of the country,
and it is marketed as herbal incense. However, these herbs are sprayed with synthetic chemicals that
mimic THC and, when smoked, cause a marijuana experience. Because Spice-like products have only
become available relatively recently in smoke shops and head shops in the United States, little is known
about their adverse effects, but the similarity with THC suggests that the pharmacological actions are
likely to resemble marijuana. Therein lays the dilemma: because it has not been declared illegal in many
parts of the country and is not regulated by government agencies, it has enjoyed dramatic popularity
with teenage and young adult consumers who have come to refer to it as “legal marijuana high.”
Needless to say agencies such as the DEA and other federal and local law enforcement groups are
concerned about the adverse effects of Spice and its likelihood to cause dependence, and recommend
its tight control or even elimination. In contrast, many young consumers and so called “personal freedom
advocates” believe that until there is reliable proof that Spice causes serious adverse and addicting
effects that they should not be deprived of using and “enjoying” this product.