Spice Drug Ingredients – Know What Exactly Are You Smoking?

Addiction Resource > Addictive Substances: The Anatomy of Drug Addiction > Spice – Is the Synthetic Marijuana Safer than Cannabis? > Spice Drug Ingredients – Know What Exactly Are You Smoking?

Spice, also known as K2 and synthetic Marijuana, is a drug coated with synthetic cannabinoids, entirely different from natural Marijuana which gains its effects from the chemical THC.

Spice Drug Ingredients - What are they?

Scientific law enforcement communities began studying spice drugs in 2008, and their findings were alarming. According to a paper by Dresen, Ferreirós, Pütz, Westphal, Zimerman and Auwäter, the identification of O-desmethyl tramadol (a synthetic opioid) in a herbal mixture proves that the concept of selling natural products spiked with dangerous synthetics is a continuous trend to obtain a ‘’legal high”. Thus, it is pretty important to know the ingredients of the Spice drug.

Analyzing Spice Drug Ingredients

Spice drug ingredients include so much more than a mixture of herbs, despite it being labeled as ‘’all natural’’ on the packets and websites on which Spice is being sold.

The synthetic cannabinoids are similar to the natural cannabinoid you will find in marijuana (Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short), but the effects it has on the human brain receptors, are way different. It latches onto the same receptors as THC does, can be up to a hundred times stronger and can operate on other brain receptors as well.

In the report called ‘’Spice: Synthetic Cannabinoid Intoxication” by Schneir, Cullen, and Ly, it is stated that the synthetics identified in these products included ingredients synthesized at Hebrew University in the 60’s. There was also a cyclohexyl phenol series that Pfizer synthesized in the 70’s, and some ingredients synthesized in the 80’s by J. W. Huffman, after which JWH is named.

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It was concluded that Spice might contain one of many types of synthetic cannabinoids, including:

  • AKB4
  • AB-CHMINACA
  • AB-FUBINACA
  • AB-PINACA
  • AM-2201
  • Cannabicyclohexanol
  • Phenazapam
  • JWH-018 (Especially used in the early days of Spice. Extremely dangerous, labeled as a toxic poison.)
  • JWH-073
  • JWH-200
  • XLR-11
  • UR-144

Spice doesn’t make use of only one ingredient and is also not sold as a single brand, meaning that there are many different manufacturers all using the same basic approach, but producing very different chemicals.

Some Spice manufacturers even coat the leaves with roach spray to cover up other, traceable chemicals. Most of the Spice manufacturers do not care about manufacturing standards. Hence Spice and the chemicals it contains, are usually produced in basement labs.

Roger Ely, a chemist with the Drug Enforcement Administration, explained that ingredients such as acetone, alcohol, hydrochloric acid, and ammonia are commonly used in producing Spice. It seems like it could be harmless, but Ely added that it is the concentration of these chemicals that are more dangerous than the chemicals themselves. Another problem is the fact that the conditions under which Spice are made, are often unhygienic.

The chemicals are mixed and sprayed onto leaves and herbs, so the user never knows how much of each of the Spice drug ingredients are in their newly bought packet.

Changing Spice Drugs Ingredients

spice drug

In the end, no one can say for sure what chemicals goes into Spice since the manufacturers tend to stay one step ahead in adding and tweaking the ingredients. If a certain chemical is figured out and officials declare it as illegal, these manufacturers simply start using different chemicals to produce Spice. They continue to develop new varieties of chemicals as a loophole to get around new laws against certain chemicals.

Because the DEA is required to publish their drug research in the Federal Register, manufacturers usually know between 45 and 90 days ahead of time, which chemical is going to be next to be controlled, as the Federal Register is available for public viewing. The chemical they use is then simply replaced with a substance not being controlled.

Picking Up Spice Drugs Ingredients

It is tough to pick up Spice use, as Spice drug ingredients change at a rapid pace. Conducting fifty-seven different drug tests to test for a specific chemical on each test, just won’t work.

It also happens that users seem intoxicated, which is why a test for alcohol would rather be conducted over a drug test.

Ingredients for Making Spice at Home

Many Spice users resort to making their Spice drugs at home, experimenting with many different ingredients. There is no standard for the strength of the end product, as Spice is a very experimental drug, even for manufacturers.

Homemade Spice drug ingredients can include:

  • Acetone – a solvent primarily found in nail polish remover, which is responsible for the distinct smell. It can also be replaced with ethanol or rubbing alcohol. The acetone evaporates faster as it contains no water.
  • JWH
  • Tobacco – or herbs. This is what the manufacturer uses to blend the JWH and acetone with, so it can be smoked.
  • Mullein (Verbascum sinautum)
  • Marshmallow leaves (Althaea Officinalis)
  • Damiana (Turnera Diffusa)
  • Wild Opium (Lacuta virosa)
  • Wild Marijuana (Leonotis Leonurus)
  • Skullcap (Scutellaria)
  • Spearmint (Mentha, Arvensis, Pipertia)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla)
  • Dream Herb (Calea Zacatechichi)
  • Menthol – either menthol crystals or mint leaves to give off a better taste and smell.

A strong blend may typically contain 14mg JWH per gram of tobacco, with a mild blend consisting of 10mg of JWH per one gram of tobacco. Spice drug ingredients for light and very light blends may include 5 mg or 2 mg of JWH per gram of tobacco respectively.

The Main Ingredient: JWH

Different variations of JWH will often be found in Spice. It works by causing profound changes in CB1 receptor density, causing desensitization. It is possible to become addicted to this Spice drug ingredient, and withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of a marijuana dependence.

The difference is that THC, found in marijuana, is a partial agonist at CB1 receptors, where JWH and other Spice drug ingredients are full agonists.

The Bottom Line

It is close to impossible to derive an exact definition for the Spice, mainly because Spice drug ingredients change all the time. It is a cat and mouse game between the Feds and the manufacturers, who keep on changing the ingredients as those they use become controlled.

Spice Drug Ingredients – Know What Exactly Are You Smoking?

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Comments 7

  • What kind of substitution can you buy over the counter to fill in for the jwh

  • Thanks. I will show this to my addicted friend. She does seem to use it to become desensitized. And the more she uses, the stronger her need to forget and bury her bad feelings. She is trapped in a vicious spiral of misery.

  • My roommate has been smoking it sense he got on probation and he passes out every hit he takes and he gets in a zombie like State and he has a drug test Monday will they find stuff in his sistom?

  • Are there any known treatments for spice addiction and the physical withdrawal

  • Absolutely horrible drug causing misery in Britain.. it’s disgusting seeing grown men walking round zobiefied and even looking like living dead in looks too.. need to get a grip and a bit of self worth … Make me sick.

  • Uuumm it’s not the spice it’s the people. Most people really haven’t been that big on smoking weed much. I’m talking the youngster that don’t no what high is until they smoke spice. Skip weed smoke spice. Spice is a lot for some one in life that hasn’t been a stoner yet. Of course there gonna like it or dont… hopefully the younger crowed realize it’s to big of a high for them. I been a stoner for about 20 years. Didn’t really get me high any more. Then some one interdose me to that spice. I thought it was like the first time I was high again 20 years ago. And the ones that fall asleep has never been that high be for cause it is like smoking first time all the time. So 21 and over. Moderation is the key word. Take one hit that’s all some people neeed.

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