According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Spice” is defined as “a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as ‘safe,’ legal alternatives to the drug.”
The drug is growing in popularity among teens, mostly nearing the end of their high school years. Additionally, recent research has revealed that boys are twice as likely to abuse it than females.
It is often sold under several different names such as Moon Rocks, fake weed, K2, and Yucatan Fire. These products are usually labeled “not for human consumption due to the fact they include toxic ingredients, such as dangerous chemical additives and other unknown substances.
What often draws teens to use Spice is the advertising that surrounds it. Its packaging often claims that it’s “all natural” and taken from plants. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Numerous chemical analyses of various brands have found that active ingredients are usually synthetic (also known as “designer”) cannabinoid compounds.
Some Spice users report that the drug makes them feel less anxious and a experience a defined change in perception. On the negative side, some feel anxious, paranoid and experience hallucinations. This is all accomplished in the brain by the drug’s compounds attaching to nerve cell receptors — the same way THC does in marijuana. Also, the other chemicals within the drug can cause other major health complications and be deadly
For example, Connor Eckhardt of Orange County, Calif. took one hit of Spice and went into cardiac arrest. He is one of many teens that have lost their lives as result of the deadly drug.
This is why it is extremely important that parents understand what to look for and how to best educate their children as to the dangers of Spice.