Vape Liquids Laced with Spice: A Growing Concern

The Zombie Drug Infiltrating Vape Liquids

Recent incidents of teenagers being hospitalised in London after vaping liquids containing spice have highlighted a growing problem in the UK. Spice, a synthetic drug designed to mimic the effects of cannabis, is finding its way into unregulated vape liquids, putting users at risk of severe health consequences.

What is Spice?

Spice, also known as synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), is a wide group of man made drugs. These drugs were produced in a lb and were that were first developed as experimental drugs for medicinal purposes. However, these drugs have gained notoriety in the recreational drug market since their emergence in 2008. Often they are marketed and packaged as a legal alternative to cannabis.

Spice is not a single compound; instead, it encompasses hundreds of synthetic cannabinoids that have been identified in Europe. These compounds are structurally similar to the active ingredients found in cannabis, but they bind more strongly to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, resulting in much more potent and unpredictable effects.

Why is Spice Harmful?

Unlike cannabis, spice is far more dangerous due to its potency and the way it works with your brain and body. The compounds in spice bind more strongly to cannabinoid receptors than those found in cannabis, heightening their effects. On top of this, the metabolic by-products of spice can also bind to these receptors, further amplifying the drug’s effects instead of reducing them.

Repeated use of spice can lead to tolerance. This often results in users needing to consume higher doses. This puts them at increased risk of harm. The drug has been linked to a wide range of adverse effects, including dizziness, loss of movement, heart and breathing problems, seizures, mental health issues like anxiety, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts, as well as damage to the kidneys and gastrointestinal system.

A Growing Problem

Obtaining accurate data on the extent of spice use in the UK is challenging due to the unregulated nature of the drug. However, reports suggest that in Manchester, 95% of homeless people were using spice in 2017 and this figure is believed to be still valid in 2024.  The drug is also being smuggled into prisons, often soaked onto paper to evade detection.

Alarmingly, there is an increasing number of reports of vape liquids being laced with spice, prompting public health authorities to issue warnings. Two identically labelled packets may not contain the same drug or amount, making it impossible for users to know the contents of their vape liquids.

Raising Awareness

As the problem of spice-laced vape liquids continues to grow, there are calls to increase awareness among young people about the dangers of spice and the risks associated with using certain types of vape liquids. It is crucial for users to be cautious about the products they consume, as the consequences of ingesting spice can be severe and potentially life-threatening.

Photo: “Spice” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

You May Also Like: