To get around the illegal aspect of drugs such as marijuana or cannabis, while also achieving the same high, some recreational drug users are turning to a variety of “Spice” drugs. While they appear to be a safe alternative, new research suggests these assumptions are unfounded.
Science Daily recently posted a release summarizing the findings of two University of Herfordshire academics, Professor Fabrizio Schifano and Dr. Ornella Corazza from the University’s School of Pharmacy have released new evidence about the dangers of these drugs.
This study was completed as part of a two-year European Commission-funded effort to implement a regular monitoring of the World Wide Web in respect to novel recreational drugs.
A ‘Spice’ drug is one that is made of an herbal mix that is widely sold as incense or a legal substitute for cannabis. A variety of available ‘flavors’ include ‘Spice Diamond’, ‘Spice Gold’, ‘Spice Silver’, 2Spicy’, ‘Spice of Life’, etc. According to users, each of these flavors are meant to produce subtly different effects.
The initial results of this study found that the drug is accessible to children and adolescents. The controls on any of the websites selling the drug are either non-existent or very limited.
At the same time, Spice is still relatively unknown to most health professionals and very little information is available on the international medical database, monitoring of information about it on the Web is crucial.
“These results are alarming, particularly as Spice drugs are among the “three legal highs” that will be banned by the end of the year,” said Dr Corazza. “It seems that legal restrictions and bans cannot be the only answer to the rapid diffusion of the new psychoactive compounds, which are much wider and more rooted in society.”