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Understanding the 'Spice' phenomenon

EMCDDA, Lisbon, November 2009

Publication type:

Thematic papers


Smokable herbal mixtures under the brand name ‘Spice’ are known to have been sold on the Internet and in various specialised shops since at least 2006 and anecdotal reports suggest that those products may have been available as early as 2004. Although advertised as an ‘exotic incense blend which releases a rich aroma’ and ‘not for human consumption’, when smoked, Spice products have been reported by some users to have effects similar to those of cannabis.

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English (en)

Table of contents

  • Introduction and background
  • Herbal components of Spice products
  • Cannabinoid receptor agonists: a brief chemical overview
  • Forensic identification, pharmacology and toxicology of JWH-018, CP 47,497 and their alkyl homologs
  • EMCDDA survey
  • Internet information
  • Control measures
  • Conclusions





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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 08 December 2009