What is Synthetic Marijuana?
Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product which, when consumed mimics the effects of cannabis. It is best known by the brand names K2 and Spice, both of which have largely become genericized trademarks used to refer to any synthetic cannabis product. (It is also for this reason that synthetic cannabis is often referred to as spice product, due to the latter.)
When synthetic cannabis blends first went on sale in the early 2000s it was thought that they achieved an effect through a mixture of legal herbs. Laboratory analysis in 2008 showed this was not the case and that they in fact contained synthetic cannabinoids which act on the body in a similar way to cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis, such as THC.
A large and complex variety of synthetic cannabinoids, most often cannabicyclohexanol, JWH-018, JWH-073, or HU-210, are used in an attempt to avoid the laws which make cannabis illegal, making synthetic cannabis a designer drug. It has been sold under various brand names, online, in head shops and at some gas stations.
It is often marketed as "herbal incense", however some brands market their products as "herbal smoking blends". In either case the products are usually smoked by users. Although synthetic cannabis does not produce positive results in drug tests for cannabis, it is possible to detect its metabolites in human urine. The synthetic cannabinoids contained in synthetic cannabis products have been made illegal in many European countries.