Addiction A-Z

Synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana, sold under many names, including “Spice,” K2, fake weed, Skunk, Mood Rocks, is the second most popular drug among American teenagers, after marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 11% of high school seniors in 2012 used synthetic marijuana in the past year. “Spice” refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as “safe,” legal alternatives to that drug. Yet synthetic marijuana contains many dangerous chemicals that can cause vomiting, racing heartbeat, seizures, hallucinations and high blood pressure. While synthetic marijuana was once easy to purchase in head shops, tobacco shops, gas stations and via the Internet, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently designated the five active chemicals most frequently found in Spice as Schedule I controlled substances, making them illegal to sell, buy or possess. Manufacturers of Spice products attempt to evade these legal restrictions by substituting different chemicals in their mixtures, while the DEA continues to monitor the situation and evaluate the need for updating the list of banned cannabinoids.


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