Spice is a very popular drug among teenagers and is used more often than any other drug except marijuana. Spice is actually a group of drugs that are meant give the same experience as marijuana. It is manufactured to look like dried plant matter, similar to marijuana, but it is different than marijuana in a few important ways.
Many brands of spice are advertised as “natural” alternatives to marijuana, but this is not the case. The chemicals in spice that are used to produce a high are actually synthetic and vary widely from brand to brand. Because these chemicals have a high rate of abuse, the FDA has listed them as Schedule 1 Controlled Substances, making them illegal to manufacture, sell or use. In response to this, manufacturers of spice have begun using alternative chemicals in their products that have an unknown effect when used.
Some brands of spice are currently legal to sell, though not as a substance to be ingested in any way. They are usually sold as incense, and can be found online, in smoke shops, and even in gas stations. The fact that spice is readily available for purchase is what makes it so popular among high school kids. Another reason that it is so popular is that the chemicals found in spice don’t always show up on a drug test like marijuana would.
Like marijuana, spice is most commonly smoked, but it can also be used by being baked into brownies or other foods or made into tea. About 36% of high school students reported using marijuana in the past year and about 11% reported using spice, or synthetic marijuana, within the same time frame. These numbers have been increasing and are expected to continue to increase as more and more young people buy into the false notion that marijuana and spice are harmless drugs.