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Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices.

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The evolution of synthetic cannabinoids over the last five years has been rapidly changing.

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Spice is a mix of herbs shredded plant material and laboratory-made chemicals with mind-altering effects. But, its effects are sometimes very different from marijuana, and often much stronger.

Usually, the chemicals are sprayed onto plant materials to make them look like marijuana. 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 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. In fact, the actual effects of spice 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 people also make it as an herbal tea for drinking.

Synthetic cannabinoids: what are they? what are their effects?

Others buy Spice products as liquids to use in e-cigarettes. Spice has only been around a few years, and research is only just beginning to measure how it affects the brain.

What is known is that the chemicals found in Spice attach to the same nerve cell receptors as THC, the main mind-altering ingredient in marijuana. Some of the chemicals in Spice, however, attach to those receptors more strongly than THC, which could lead to much stronger effects.

What is spice?

The resulting health effects can be unpredictable and dangerous. Additionally, there are many chemicals that remain unidentified in products sold as Spice and it is therefore not clear how they may affect the user. It is important to remember that chemicals are often being changed as the makers of Spice often alter them to avoid drug laws, which have to target certain chemicals. Learn more about how the brain works and what happens when a person uses drugs. View more on NIDA.

United states drug enforcement administration

Spice use has been linked to a rising of emergency department visits and to some deaths. Learn more about drug overdoses in youth.

Yes, Spice can be addictive. People who use Spice a lot may have withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit. Withdrawal symptoms can include:. MTF Data.

Explore teen substance use trends over time, by grade and substance with an interactive chart featuring Monitoring the Future data from to present. If a friend is using drugs, you might have to step away from the friendship for a while.

The evolution of synthetic cannabinoids

It is important to protect your own mental health and not put yourself in situations where drugs are being used. This lesson, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain. These community activities are deed to help students in grades 6 through 12 learn about the effects of drug use Content on this site is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Department of Health and Human Services.

National Institutes of Health. What is Spice?

Resources for educators

Expand All What happens to your brain when you use Spice? What happens to your body when you use Spice? Can you overdose or die if you use Spice? Is Spice addictive? Withdrawal symptoms can include: headaches anxiety depression irritability.

How many teens use Spice? The chart below shows the percentage of teens who say they use Spice. Swipe left or right to scroll. What should I do if someone I know needs help? If you, or a friend, are in crisis and need to speak with someone now: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at TALK they don't just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by If you want to help a friend, you can: Share resources from this site, including this. Encourage your friend to speak with a trusted adult.

Where can I get more information? Resources for Educators Image. Drugs and the Teen Brain This lesson, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain.