The synthetic form of Marijuana, called Spice and sold incognito as “incense” in smoke shops, was made illegal by federal law in a recent emergency order. There are actually several chemical compounds used to make Spice that the federal government is individually regulating. Thus the law spreads to cover Ivory Wave and other designer drugs as well.
Spice is made up of 5 synthetic cannabinoids, or copy-cat marijuana substances. So, even though it was a “legal high,” it was more powerful in its effects than actual marijuana. The natural cannabinoids in marijuana only partially bond to the cannabinoid receptor sites in the brain and nervous system. But the cannabinoids in Spice are able to fully bind to these receptors, increasing the effects of the drug.
Many users of Spice had suffered ill effects from paranoid delusions to seizures. So, the federal government stepped in to pull it from the shelves before anyone else could get hurt. The temporary ban will give the government time to figure out a longer term solution.
Spice is now illegal to sell or to have in one’s possession. In addition to state laws that have their own penalties, person’s charged with selling or the possession of Spice can face federal charges. While the federal ban caused shop owners across the nation to pull it from the shelves, the sales go on in the black market.
For this reason, the branches of the military have developed urine analysis testing to identify the presence of several different synthetic cannabinoids. Many companies and businesses look forward to taking advantage of this new science to catch employees suspected of using Spice.