*Not all cannabinoids are in all Spice products. This list describes the cannabinoids that have been found among all the samples tested by different labs.
Spice is a brand name for a mixture of herbs that has been sold in smart shops in Europe, Canada and other parts of the world since around 2002, purportedly as an incense, as well as over the Internet as an “herbal smoking blend”. Even though the manufacturer officially warns against human ingestion, it is usually smoked for its cannabis-like effects which are caused by a mixture of synthetic cannabinoids. When it is smoked, the effects usually last from 1-4 hours.
Several different “flavors” have been marketed which have been shown to contain different proportions of the synthetic cannabinoid active ingredients and reportedly produce subtly different effects. A large number of competing products made by other manufacturers have also subsequently appeared around the world.
On December 15th 2008, it was announced by German pharmaceutical company THCPharm, that JWH-018 had been found as one of the active components in at least three versions of the supposedly “herbal” smoking blend, cannabis substitute drug Spice, which had been sold in a number of countries around the world since 2002 as an “incense”.
On January 19th 2009, it was announced by the University of Freiburg in Germany that the other main active substance in Spice is an undisclosed analogue of the synthetic cannabinoid CP 47,497. On the 22nd January 2009, CP 47,497 along with its dimethylhexyl, dimethyloctyl and dimethylnonyl homologues, were added to the German controlled drug schedules. Different ratios of JWH-018 and CP 47,497 and their analogues, such as JWH-073, had apparently been used in the various different varieties of Spice.
Another potent synthetic cannabinoid, HU-210, has been reported to have been found in Spice seized by the US Customs & Border Protection but no independent confirmation of this result has yet been made.
Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:
Spice contains synthetic cannabinoids that are research chemicals. Research chemicals are experimental chemicals that are not approved for human consumption. This is because not enough data exists currently about their side effects, adverse reactions, long term damage, addiction potential, etc. Although some people are willing to ingest research chemicals, it is not reasonable to assume that they are in any way safe to use recreationally.
Spice and Drug Tests:
JWH-018 can be detected with drug tests from the redwood toxicology laboratory. The test checks for JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites in the urine with a window of detection up to 72 hours (depending on usage/dosage).
The EU Psychonaut Web-Mapping Project:
The Psychonaut web-mapping project continuously monitors the web for novel compounds, using nine languages, with the support of different tools/software (e.g. Google Insights, Blue Crab, Boolean Search, InSite, Advanced Web Ranking and SerpSpy). The project monitors regularly more than 200 websites, forums and blogs that provide information on many compounds.
Since 2007, the EU Psychonaut web-mapping project has recorded a rapid diffusion of Spice products over the Internet. More specifically, Google Insights shows that a substantial amount of searches were conducted on Spice products from the end of 2004. However, these increased exponentially in the second part of 2008, presumably as media reports of the drug raised awareness. The majority of the searches for Spice Gold, for instance, came from the Russian Federation, followed by Austria, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom. Interestingly, these searches were also linked with key words such as: ‘spice gold shop’, ‘spice gold buy’ and ‘spice gold smoke’.