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Spice is a mix of herbs shredded plant material and laboratory-made chemicals with mind-altering effects.


Since the turn of the millennium, the UK has been afflicted by a new drug which is now causing tremendous problems throughout the country: spice.

Synthetic cannabinoids (spice)

In the case of spice addiction specifically, it is characterised by the compulsion to engage in rewarding behaviour, regardless of an awareness of the adverse consequences of doing so. Spice addiction is often accompanied by spice dependence — the system of someone regularly consuming spice becomes accustomed to certain levels of the drug. Subsequently, they become reliant upon it for normal functioning. Because of the illicit nature of spice and its relatively recent arrival as a recreational drugresearch into its properties and the mechanism of addiction is fairly limited.

In many cases, it appears that various different substances have each been consumed regularly enough, and in sufficient quantities, to lead to the development of dependence. Someone with a spice addiction may have a dependence to numerous chemicals simultaneously. Spice is a street name for any of a range of drugs typically found in the form of chopped-up plant matter which is then smoked which have been sprayed with or soaked in synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are deer drugs which bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body the same receptors affected by THC and CBD — cannabinoids found in cannabis.

During the period in which they were legal in the UK prior tothey were often marketed as such by vendors. However, the effects of spice can differ very substantially from those of cannabis. However, it has become a generic term used to describe any synthetic cannabinoid — or, indeed, any smokable drug in the form of plant matter sold on the street. Many users continue to refer to synthetic cannabinoids by some of these erstwhile brand names, despite the fact that typically they are no longer provided under these brands:. Although the first synthetic cannabinoids were developed as far back as the s, and several of the chemicals began to be used clinically from the s onwards, it was only after the start of the new millennium that they began to be commonly used recreationally.

Because they differed chemically from the active ingredients in cannabis, they were not technically illegal in the UK and many other countries and as a result, synthetic cannabinoid began to be sold in growing quantities in shops around the country, with the brand Spice reaching the market in early Spice synthetic cannabis uk A host of other brands ed Spice on shelves around the country, containing many different synthetic cannabinoids. Some were many times more potent than JWH the active ingredient in Spice.

As the market for synthetic cannabinoids grew, so too did an awareness of the problems associated with them. In particular, their potential for causing extreme intoxication and dangerous side effects. Spice itself — and JWH — were banned in the UK along with various other synthetic cannabinoids in By then, however, a great many other brands with different chemical formulae had come onto the market.

Many were being imported from manufacturers in China and elsewhere who were investing ificant resources into developing new chemicals to stay ahead of legislative changes. Another raft of bans was introduced inbut again new compounds were brought onto the market to dodge these restrictions. However, with the damage being wrought by synthetic cannabinoids now plain to see in the form of countless highly intoxicated users, the government decided to act decisively: The Psychoactive Substances Act banned all psychoactive drugs.

Including any yet to be discovered, the list excluded only other than alcoholtobacco and nicotinecaffeine, medicines, and drugs already regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act Unfortunately, the change in the law did not solve the spice problem in Britain. Despite being illegal, synthetic cannabinoids have become firmly established as recreational substances. Their use is now widespread throughout the country, proving particularly problematic in prisons and amongst the homeless community. Spice abuse in the UK has been described as an epidemic by many authorities, and its cost to society continues to grow year-on-year.

Spice Spice synthetic cannabis uk, and other synthetic cannabinoids are currently class-B controlled substances in the UK, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and an unlimited fine for possession. There is currently a campaign to have synthetic cannabinoids upgraded to class-A controlled substances the most serious restriction. Because of the huge of different chemicals now sold as spice, it is possible that someone possessing spice could, in fact, be in unwitting possession of a class-A controlled substance.

Get Confidential Help Now Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help. Since synthetic cannabinoids were banned in the UK and their manufacture and supply were driven underground, Spice synthetic cannabis uk precise contents of drugs sold as spice are often a mystery to all but their producers.

Spice sold on the street could have any of a wide range of plants as a base. Pre-criminalisation, packages of synthetic cannabinoids claimed to include plants such as alfalfa, nettle leaf, marshmallow, waterlily, honey weed, rose hip, blue violet, dwarf skullcap and others. The specific synthetic cannabinoid used as an active ingredient could be any of literally hundreds of chemical compounds developed in recent decades. Unscrupulous producers have also been known to apply substances other than synthetic cannabinoids — including other recreational drugsand even various toxic household or industrial chemicals — to plant matter which is then sold as spice.

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Recently, they have also become available in concentrated liquid form, which can then be applied to tobacco or other smokable material, or even ingested neat. Synthetic cannabinoids act upon the same receptors in the brain and body as does THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis — but with much greater effect. Synthetic cannabinoids have an especially ificant binding affinity — and thus greater potency — to the CB1 cannabinoid receptor located in the central nervous system.

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When stimulated by cannabinoids, CB1 receptors inhibit the release of glutamate [2] and GABA gamma-aminobutyric acid from neurons in the brain and central nervous system, creating a relaxing and euphoric high. However, many synthetic cannabinoids and other substances sold as spice also affect non-cannabinoid receptors and other parts of the brain in a huge variety of ways. The health impact of consuming spice can be extremely serious. A of deaths from synthetic cannabinoid overdose [3] have been reported. Additionally, many users have also experienced negative effects including nauseavomiting, loss of consciousness, confusionseizuresextreme anxietypalpitations, paranoiapulmonary and cardiovascular problems, agitation, stroke and loss of motor control.

As research deepens into the effects of synthetic cannabinoids, a link has been established between the consumption and the development of psychosis. Typically, psychosis develops as a result of long-term synthetic cannabinoid abuse, but a of cases have been reported of psychosis manifesting after only a small of doses and instances of consumption. Various other mental health disorders have also been linked with spice consumption, especially long-term use.

Spice intoxication and subsequent impaired consciousness and motor control can lead to serious accidents.

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Possessing spice is against the law, and serious legal consequences can result from involvement in spice abuse — especially for individuals supplying the drug to others. Users may also become involved in criminal activity, including theft and prostitution, as a way of funding their purchases of spice, or as a consequence of associating with spice dealers especially if they find themselves indebted to the latter.

It is now widely accepted that Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids are substantially more addictive both psychologically and physically than cannabis itself. Some users who have developed physical dependence have reported withdrawal symptoms lasting weeks or even months. A serious problem with the use of other substances in spice sold on the street is that users may become addicted to spice without being aware of exactly.

This ificantly complicates any addiction treatment with which they may be provided, and also makes it effectively impossible to determine exactly how addictive spice is. Spice addiction develops when a user repeatedly consumes spice over a period of time.

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As spice consumption continues, the reward centres in the brain acclimatise to the repeated engagement in that behaviour. The release of chemicals including dopamine creates feelings of reward and satisfaction. Similarly, the absence of those chemicals when spice is not consumed creates unpleasant feelings which drive the user to consume spice again.

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Dependence develops when a user consumes spice repeatedly and their brain and body become reliant on the presence of certain levels of whatever active chemicals are in that particular batch of spice to function normally. Once dependence has developed, the absence of those chemicals from the system will prompt the abnormal functioning of the affected parts of the brain and body. Various unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms can manifest. They are collectively known as withdrawal syndrome. Spice itself, along with other synthetic cannabinoids, was banned in the UK in Other research chemicals which may be found in spice were rendered illegal insimilarly potentially resulting in imprisonment and a fine for anyone possessing or supplying them.

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Meanwhile, some batches of spice may contain class-A controlled substancesincreasing the penalties potentially levied on users and suppliers. Synthetic cannabinoids are also illegal in numerous other countries, including in much of the rest of the EU. The relative paucity of research into synthetic cannabinoids means that a comprehensive understanding of their toxicity has not yet been reached. It is known that some synthetic cannabinoids are ificantly more toxic than others, and that they have had extremely deleterious effects on the health of users.

Various risk factors have been identified as increasing the likelihood that an individual will abuse spice, including:.

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Experimentation with substances of abuse is often seen to be something of a rite of passage for young people. Spice can be particularly attractive in this regard due to its comparatively widespread availability and relatively low cost. Unfortunately, young people are especially susceptible to the development of some of the mental health issues associated with spice abuse.

However, the consumption of spice and especially addiction to it have seriously detrimental consequences for academic and social development, with potentially lifelong ramifications.

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If you believe a young person close to you is abusing spice, contact an addiction specialist to discuss how best to tackle the issue. Do not attempt to intervene without advice, and always prioritise your safety and that of those around you. Because of the stigma associated with addiction, addicts frequently go to great lengths to hide their condition.

As a result, it can be very difficult to identify a spice addiction even in someone close to you. Nevertheless, various symptoms of addiction may betray the condition, including:. Seizures and stroke resulting from spice abuse can cause permanent debilitation, as can spice-related pulmonary and cardiovascular problems. Permanent neurological damage has also been linked with long-term spice abuse [4].

The physical health impact of spice abuse can also have very serious emotional ramifications. Spice users — especially those addicted to spice — can feel great despair and hopelessness, often seeing no way out from their condition or from the reduced circumstances to which it may have led.

Rates of self-harm and suicide are ificantly higher among spice users than for the general population.

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Spice and other similar drugs can also be purchased online.