Spice is also known as K2, fake weed, bliss, black mamba, bombay blue, benie, zohai, Yucatan fire, skunk and moon rocks.

Spice is a mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and manmade chemicals with mind-altering effects. It is often 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 frequently much stronger.

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 most frequently 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, or scented powder when burned. Sellers of the drug try to lead people to believe they are “natural” and therefore harmless, but they are neither. In fact, their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or cause death.

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

People who have had bad reactions to spice report symptoms such as:

  •     Fast heart rate
  •     Throwing up
  •     Feeling anxious or nervous
  •     Feeling confused
  •     Violent behavior
  •     Suicidal thoughts

Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause less blood to flow to the heart. In a few cases, it has been linked with heart attacks and death. People who use spice a lot may have withdrawal and addiction symptoms.

We still do not know all the ways spice may affect a person’s health or how toxic it may be, but it is possible that there may be harmful heavy metal residues in spice mixtures.

Colorful printed packets containing spice, showing cartoonish graphics.