Spice Addiction: Truth Behind Synthetic Marijuana Facts and Statistics Hype

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Sep 16, 2014 | Rehab Treatment Options

Spice Addiction Facts and Statistics

Spice addiction is a rapidly growing adolescent and young adult drug trend. Spice is often portrayed in the media as “a deadly, legal version of marijuana.” Is this true? Are we getting accurate spice addiction facts? What about spice addiction statistics? How can we see through the hype?

Learn the truth about spice addiction facts below.

Spice Addiction Facts

• Spice is the umbrella term for a large number of synthetic cannabinoids. Spice is sold as “natural herbs,” although the herbs aren’t what produce psychoactive effects. Those come from the synthetic cannabinoids sprayed onto plant matter.

• Common synthetic cannabinoids include JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, AM-2201 UR-144, XLR-11, AKB48, and cannabicyclohexanol.

• While THC is only a partial agonist of the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, synthetic cannabinoids act as full agonists. This means they bind and saturate ALL cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This makes them stronger and more addictive than traditional marijuana.

• In 2011, the DEA temporarily scheduled the five most popular synthetic cannabinoids: JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol.

• In 2012, these five chemicals were made permanently illegal under the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act. However, spice producers can alter a few molecules and have a completely new, and legal, drug.

• In 2013, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology published a report linking spice addiction to acute kidney damage.

• Spice addiction has been linked to other harmful effects, including drug-induced psychotic episodes, strokes, brain damage, hallucinations, seizures, and heart attacks.

Spice Addiction Statistics

• According to a CBS News report, spice addiction sent over 11,000 people to the ER in 2010.

• In 2011, the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey reported that 7.9% of high school seniors admitted to engaging in spice abuse.

• In 2012, this number jumped to 11.3% of high school seniors.

• In 2013, this number dropped to just under 11% of high school seniors.

• In the first quarter of 2012, over 2,000 poison control center calls were made about spice addiction. That breaks down to approximately eighteen calls a day.

• In 2012, more adolescent men engaged in spice abuse than women. In fact, the number of men who admitted to abusing spice was almost double the number of women.

Why are people calling marijuana the “new heroin?”

What Do These Spice Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?

So, what do these statistics and facts about spice addiction tell us? First and foremost, they show that spice addiction is dangerous!

Simply put, synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous drugs. They’re powerful and unpredictable. These facts about spice addiction also show that many adolescents believe spice is harmless. That’s a recipe for disaster. Mixing ignorance with chemicals results in ER visits.

Finally, the above statistics and facts about spice addiction show that the public awareness of synthetic cannabinoids is rising. As public awareness rises, so do treatment opportunities. That’s the good news here, there’s hope for you or your loved one struggling with spice addiction!

Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "Spice Addiction: Truth Behind Synthetic Marijuana Facts and Statistics Hype." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Sep 16, 2014, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/spice-addiction-facts/.


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