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Drug factfile

Get educated on the basics

Synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of organic cannabis but can be even stronger.

What else is it called?

Black Mamba, Spice, K2, Spice product, 'herbal incense', 'herbal smoking mixture'

What does it look like?

May appear like organic cannabis - often  a powder or crystal form, which is sprayed onto inert plant material to form a smoking mixture that mimics the appearance of cannabis.

What is its legal status?

Mixed. Some synthetic cannabinoids have been prohibited by law, but many have not.

How much does it cost?

It varies. Often around £30 for a three gram pack which can provide around six joints.

What equipment do people use to take it?

Cigarette papers (skins, rizla) and tobacco to smoke in a spliff or joint. May also be smoked in bongs or pipes.

What about dependence/addiction?

No clinical studies have been carried out on synthetic cannabinoids so their long-term effects are unknown. However, smoking these products involves unknown chemicals entering the lungs, the risk of unknown interactions with or exacerbation of existing mental health problems, disturbing sensations and feelings and the risk of people hurting themselves through accidents.