Here in Maine we’ve been seeing increased use of Spice, the catch-all phrase for “whatever-chemicals-we-want-to-spray-on-plant-matter-and-sell-you-as-synthetic-pot.” Users are described as congregating in “spice alley” and standing around like zombies. Bringing to mind the question: what if the zombie apocalypse was voluntary? What if we got to opt in to become zombies of our own free will? How many of us would voluntarily join the hungry pack rather than be one of the hunted?
Despite Maine’s upsurge, Spice use isn’t increasing nationally. A survey of high school users found that Spice use dropped from 12% in 2011 to 5% in 2015. That’s right, high schoolers are smart enough to know that Spice is bad news. They know, as researchers have confirmed, that Spice makes you crazy (about 4x more than pot) and way more agitated. In other words, it’s not worth it on any measure. A survey of college athletes found that Spice use dropped to 2% (had ever tried it. Only one guy was still using.)
But is Spice really that bad? Yes. Yes, it is. Back in 2011 when the risks of Spice were less well known, ” In 2011, synthetic cannabinoids were the only substance involved in 65 percent of ED visits by those aged 20 or younger.” That’s right. With all the other drugs on the market, Spice caused the vast majority of emergency room visits. Most people got the message: “don’t inhale random chemicals and expect a good high.” The only ones who didn’t are the ones cruising spice alley looking for a cheap high. Cheap? How cheap is your sanity? How much would you pay for the following: “The adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids include severe agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia (racing heartbeat), elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, and nonresponsiveness.” You could even die. Not a very cheap high at all.
The recent upsurge of Spice has to be due more to a new group of unsuspecting users rather than a return of past users. Ultimately, because Spice can be tweaked to avoid legal banning, users themselves have to understand its toxicity. But unfortunately, there is always another group of teenagers who want to experiment. Here’s the skinny kids: when someone offers you something that specifically says “not for human consumption” don’t take it. It’s like those “don’t drink the water” signs, there are just some things that are never cool to do. Just say no to becoming part of the zombie horde.