“Inside: Secret America” National Geographic Channel


National Geographic Channel teams with investigative journalists Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster to uncover the underbelly of the synthetic drug trade in “Inside: Secret America.”  We will update when we know when the piece will be reaired.Swat Team

Zeller and Foster will accompany law enforcement in on a bust, talk to some users in the Marines, who they accompany to some local smoke shops to purchase synthetic drugs.

The Facts about Synthetic Cannabinoids – Spice

Fake High, Real Danger!

Synthetic marijuana is commonly known as Spice, “legal,” UR, 2nd Gen, Aroma Therapy, Herbal Sachets, K2, and a number of different generic names. Referring to the product as synthetic marijuana causes people to believe that it’s an alternative to marijuana, which is completely false.

These products usually consist of plant material, such as damiana leaves laced with synthetic cannabinoids that have been disolved in a solvent, such as acetone or formaldehyde.

What are Synthetic Cannabinoids:

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Most synthetic cannabinoids are categorized as “poison” by legitimate laboratories, which are required to post ‘Material Safety Data Sheets’ when handling these chemicals:


Ingesting Spice has been compared to Russian Roulette:

Russian Roulette

Everyone reacts to the many different synthetic cannabinoids differently.  So, if a manufacturer changes the chemical they are using to lace their plant material, you may have a severe reaction, even though you had previously not experienced bad reactions to that particular brand.

What Does Spice Look Like?

  • Similar appearance to marijuana or dried leaves of potpourri.
  • It is usually sold in 1 to 3 gram packages.
  • Packed in colorful square metallic envelopes or small canisters.

Looks like


Occasionally, Cannabinoids are also occasionally sold in other forms, such as candy, brownies, drops.

Reported Side Effects

  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Heart Attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Strokes
  • Increased Heart Rate (Tachycardia) and Blood Pressure
  • Temporary Partial Paralysis
  • Increased Body Temperature
  • Temporary Inability to Feel Pain
  • Seizures or Tremors
  • Severe Headaches and migraines
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression and Exaggerated Thoughts of Suicide
  • Feeling of Impending Doom (or Death)
  • Agitation and Irritability
  • Panic Attacks and Anxiety
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Organ Failure
  • Mental Disorders
    • Psychosis
    • Schizophrenia
    • Anxiety Disorder
    • Dissociative Disorder
    • Paranoia Delusions
    • Depression
    • Suicidal ideation
  • Death

Side effects may continue for several months! If you see someone with these symptoms, call 911 or Poison Control at 800-222-1222.


Why is “Spice” so popular?

  • It can’t be detected in standard drug tests.
  • Not long ago, it was sold in nearly every gas station, convenient store and tobacco store in most communities.  In some states, it’s still sold in stores.
  • Because it was (is) sold in stores, it’s thought to be safe.  Many consider it to be a safe, and sometimes legal, alternative to marijuana.  However, it can be as dangerous as heroin, meth and PCP and is a felony to use, posses or sell.
  • Many young people do not follow the media reports of deaths and hospitalizations.

Why Should I be Concerned?

  • While most people smoke Spice as a marijuana alternative, it can be 10-500 times more potent, depending on the chemical compound and potency.
  • Every package purchased is a mystery package. Each has a different amount of unknown chemicals “randomly” sprayed. In other words, you don’t know what you are getting, and it has not been scientifically tested for safety.
  • Case studies verify serious, life-threatening side effects.
  • “Not for Human Consumption” is stamped on the packaging in an attempt to protect the sellers.  However, recent prosecutions prove, juries are not being fooled.
  • Although most synthetic cannabinoids have been federally banned, the “bad guys” are steps ahead, so that when one chemical compound is banned, they are ready with a new chemicals, which have never been seen on earth before and haven’t been tested for safety.

What Do We Know Scientifically?

  • Not Enough!!!
  • Few studies have been conducted to know short- or long-term effects
  • Case studies are varifying numerous life-threatening side-effects.  Many deaths have occured.

What Is Being Reported?

  • Use is  increasing!
  • More and more users are coming forward to report dangerous side effects. It is believed that there are many deaths attributed to Spice use. However, because some deaths are directly attributed to accidents or suicide, those are not statistically recorded as caused by synthetic cannabinoids. We keep a list of those reported in the news. Many of the victims families do not publicly share their stories.  Our list is limited
  • Synthetic cannabinoid products are thought to possibly be an 8 billion dollar industry

What can you do?

Talk to your legislators and Attorney General.  Give them the information included in the article which you can find in the link below:

What can  you do

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