According to a news release from the DEA at the time of the ban, synthetic cannabis (smokeable herbal products, Spice) have become especially popular with teens and young adults because they are marketed as being legal while containing chemicals that supposedly mimic THC.
"Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous 'fake pot'
products and wrongly equate the products' 'legal’ retail availability with
being 'safe,' “added DEA administrator Michele M. Leonhart in the news release.
chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption,
and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process," writes the DEA. Synthetic
cannabis is often labeled as "herbal incense" and reportedly causes
cannabis-like psychoactive effects. Its use led to hundreds of visits to
emergency departments since 2010.
Synthetic cannabis products pose a risk for psychosis in users, including those
with no prior history of a psychiatric disorder. Spice may pose an even greater
risk of psychosis when compared with the natural product as it lacks the antipsychotic
protective agents found in natural cannabis. These findings were presented at
the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 22nd Annual Meeting &
Alan J. Budny,
PhD, from the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Arkansas for
Medical Sciences in Little Rock, warns parents that some teens use synthetic
cannabis to "beat the tests" done to
detect marijuana use. As Spice does not get
picked up on the regular drug tests parents should look for more sensitive
tests that are now being developed and marketed to test synthetic marijuana.