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Understanding the Spice Phenomenon

NCJ Number
Roumen Sedefov; Ana Gallegos; Les King; Dominique Lopez; Volker Auwarter; Brendan Hughes; Paul Griffiths
Date Published
34 pages
This publication of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) includes data and information regarding "Spice" and "Spice products" as presented at the March 2009 meeting.
This thematic paper reflects the situation as of the first trimester of 2009 and is intended to provide insight and, as far as possible, evidence-based answers regarding "Spice" and "Spice products." This report discusses what is known about the nature, availability and use of "Spice" products; what is known about synthetic cannabinoids found in "Spice" products; why it took so long to establish the psychoactive principles in the "Spice" products; whether the products are dangerous for the consumer; the possibility of a specific demand and future development of the market for non-scheduled synthetic (designer) cannabinoids with a THC-like mode of action (e.g. acting as CB1 receptors); and where the synthetic cannabinoids are produced, as well as how they are added to the herbal products. At present, almost nothing is known about the pharmacology, toxicology and safety profile of such compounds in humans. However, since the type and amount of added synthetic cannabinoids (CB) may vary considerably and some of the compounds may be active in very small doses, the possibility of accidental overdosing with a risk of severe psychiatric complications cannot be excluded. Furthermore, the appearance of full CB receptor agonists could potentially lead to life-threatening conditions in the case of overdose. References and annexes