What Is Spice?
Spice is a mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and laboratory-made chemicals with mind-altering effects. It is often called “synthetic marijuana” or “fake weed” because some of the chemicals in it are similar to ones in marijuana. 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. Sellers of the drug try to lead people to believe it is “natural” and therefore harmless, but it is neither. In fact, the actual effects of spice can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or cause death.
How Spice is Used
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. Others buy Spice products as liquids to use in e-cigarettes.
What happens to your brain when you use Spice?
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. 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.
Guided by the principle that community engagement is critical for addressing complex public health issues, the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington has been testing Communities That Care (CTC), a community-mobilizing initiative for preventing those risky behaviors.
Substance abuse among adolescents negatively impacts their still-developing brains, and can lead to risky behavior, injury and even death.1 Guided by the principle that community engagement is critical for addressing complex public health issues, the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington has been testing Communities That Care (CTC), a community-mobilizing initiative for preventing those risky behaviors.
CTC is a data-driven framework that uses local survey and archival data to help communities identify and prioritize their needs, and then allows them to choose and implement evidence-based programs that have been shown to be effective in addressing those needs. Communities choose from a “menu” of tested and effective programs for youth, their families, schools and communities.
The CTC initiative consists of five core components that will train communities how to conduct community readiness assessments; engage stakeholders by forming coalitions to oversee CTC activities; use epidemiologic data to develop community profiles of risk and protective factors; choose evidence-based programs and/or policies to implement that will reduce the community’s identified risk factors and bolster protective factors; and improve implementation based on the evaluation data.2;3
Are tobacco, nicotine, and vaping (e-cigarette) products addictive? Yes. It is the nicotine in tobacco that is addictive. Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. A person inhales only some of the smoke from a cigarette, and not all of each puff is absorbed in the lungs. The average person gets about 1 to […]
What to Do If You Are Sick
If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
- Keep track of your symptoms.
- If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.
A guide to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
Follow the steps below: If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
Stay home except to get medical care
- Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
- Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
- Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people
As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.
- Additional guidance is available for those living in close quarters and shared housing.
- See COVID-19 and Animals if you have questions about pets.
Monitor your symptoms
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.
- Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.