Spice: What Is It, And Can It Be Tested?

You may have heard of the newest drug phenomenon, known variously as “spice” or K2.  Sometimes called “Genie,” this drug has similar effects as marijuana, but unlike marijuana, it is (in most states) legal.

Spice, a type of synthetic cannabis you cannot home drug test for, yet.

Spice works like marijuana. A chemical in the spice mimics the activity THC has in the brain.  This results in a marijuana like high, with the same symptoms.  The potency of the drug varies across brand.

Some states have banned the drug, including Iowa.  Kansas and Missouri are trying to categorize spice with marijuana in terms of legality and involved fines (see this CBS news report for more).

What do you need to know?  Well, if you are concerned that someone is using spice, you cannot at the moment buy a home drug test for it.  There’s no doubt new technologies will develop in the next few years to test for it, but at the moment no hair, saliva, or urine home drug test can detect it.

However, the Redwood Toxicology lab did just recently come out with a urine-based lab test for it.  While not as convenient as a home test, it is the only current method of detecting spice use.  To learn more call 1-800-255-2159 or visit their website (Redwood Toxicology) to learn more about how it works.  We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as far as how soon the test will be available on the instant drug test market, and if you have any questions, let us know!

Picture by Schorle via Wikipedia.


  1. mo says:

    sooo wut about false positives from a pre employment test?? can smoke the reel thing but was wondering if this is a safe alternative for the time being?

  2. admin says:


    Spice is legal in most states so it is unlikely to be a problem with a pre employment test (for more on which states have banned it, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_cannabis#United_States). Spice is chemically not like marijuana so it is not a false positive for marijuana, or any other drug. As I mentioned in the blog, spice drug testing just became possible but it’s very rare.
    About safety, I can’t really say…no official studies have really been done on what it does to humans. It is not heavily regulated either.
    Thank you for your comment! We appreciate it! 🙂

  3. wedgie says:

    Spice is a very dangerous and potent drug, this should be tested everywhere. the side effects are intense and have sent multiple people to the hospital and one with swelling of the brain! This is a drug that mimics marijuana, but marijuana on steroids. i would hope that noone in there right mind would by something that says not for human ingestion and then go home and light it up! i know that i dont go home and smoke my insense, do you???

  4. mac says:

    this is a dangerous drug. just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is safe. There are 11 states that currently ban it and more states are looking into it. my 18 year old son was taken to the emergency room with heart palpitations, cold sweats, anxiety and nausea. fearing the worst, we found he was smoking spice an hour previous. parents need to be aware and caution your children

  5. mac says:

    this is sold in “head” shops and online in many states. it is under the guise as incense, but teens are aware that it can be smoked.

  6. smokie says:

    Well i must say i smoke this stuff like i used to smoke weed and well i have not had any problems at all and i still go to the gym and work out 5 times a week and do cardio and the smoke has not effected me in the least bit!!! Also i have been smoking this for over a year now and well i have not had any health issues and i smoke alot i go through 10 grams in 2 weeks so im thinking it affects certain people depending on there immune system cause im healthy as an ox im 185 lbs will 10% body fat andlike i said i smoke it anywhere from 5-10 times a day!!!

  7. Heather says:

    Spice is not a safe alternative to weed. It is more potent than marijuana, and also more addictive. Some people have very bad reactions to it, while others get more mild side-effects such as mood-swings, headaches, nausea, etc. My husband is addicted to the stuff and it is nothing to play around with. As other commenters have mentioned there are really no scientific medical studies as to the effects that this drug has on the human body in either the long or short term. There is no regulation of the product, so you’ll never know how much or even what you’re getting each time you buy it. And it’s true that just because something is legal, does not make it safe.

  8. Alan says:

    Spice in its earlier days was much more dangerous than it is now. Most of the complications people get are due to either acetone, which is no longer used in most brands, or insecticides. Smoking anything is not good for you, but Its not something that should be illegalized, of course im also a marijuana smoker and think that should also be legalized. The main point people fail to realize is that these products are not made for kids, they are made for adult use. You wouldnt say tobacco and alcohol should be illegalized even tho both are very dangerous and often used by kids illegally. @Mac, the first time I smoked spice I had the same reaction, however it does wear off, I just slept a little and it was gone when I woke up. Spice use is and should be only for adults who know the risks, just like cigarettes and alcohol.

  9. […] recently featured an article entitled “Spice: What Is It, And Can It Be Tested?” on our blog. One of our readers pointed out something we kind of overlooked – what is spice?? […]

  10. admin says:

    Hi Neal,

    Your question has (I hope) been answered! https://www.homehealthtesting.com/blog/2010/10/what-is-spice-the-ultimate-guide/ Thanks for your comment, it inspired us to write a better piece.

    Take care,


  11. tyler says:

    spice is not dangerous i have smoked it every day since its been available the only reason someone would go to the hospital for it is cause their are either a lightweight or they made themselves paranoid from thinking something will happen to themselves,, u think if it was killing people that it would be legal anywhere period ,,,,and by the way its not marijuana on steroids its so much weaker than marijuana and it taste like shit and the effects are very short I’ve been smoking it like crazy and I’m fine maybe cause I’m not in the 7Th grade

  12. nutz says:

    there is now a test for spice it can be detected within a 72 hour period longer if you smoke alot. there is also a saliva test for it and that is a 24-48 hour window

  13. Jared says:

    Don’t go thinking spice is legal now, I am currently on probation, and gettin’ UA’d for smoking spice. MY OWN sister told the cops that I was some big time drug dealer in town, and my house got raided.

    Well, all they found was a tobacco pipe with spice resin in it, and I am in all kinds of s***. Have to go to the police department every day to be tested for drugs/alcohol, and on 6 months probation. THis is in Wyoming, they sell it all over the place here. Judge said it was Unlawful use of a toxic substance.

  14. ACEjify66 says:

    I hope spice doesn’t cause harmful effects me and my friends smoke it on a regular basis. I would like to know more about it. I have done some research and found out one of the main chemicals dwh 018 but I would like to hear from someone with side effects so I know what this drug is capable of.

  15. boq106rox says:

    I have friends that are in a treatment program and have tested positive for Spice. They have admitted to smoking it but claim it’s been over two weeks (possibly a month) since they smoked but keep coming up positive. I wanted to know how long it takes to get out of your system? If they in fact haven’t smoked in that long would they still show up positive?

  16. Izzi says:

    Mo, I wouldn’t smoke spice if you can smoke marijuana. In fact, I’d try not to smoke spice period. I’m in a sort of rehab program, where we get drug tested, so people used to just smoke spice instead of weed, but they just came out with the test for it. Anyway, I used to smoke weed all the time, and spice is definitely worse for you. It will give you an awful cough, you’ll be congested, nauseous, uncomfortable, feverish. It causes pretty bad withdrawals. Honestly, I’d try to avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

  17. admin says:


    The testing I am familiar with (http://www.redwoodtoxicology.com/services/synthetic_cannabinoid_testing.html) for Spice and synthetic cannabinoid compounds is urine based and only has about a 3 day detection period. I’d ask the treatment program about what kind of testing they are using.

    Hope this helps. Take care and thanks for your question,


  18. Dean says:

    Why is real weed even considered dangerous, has there ever been a marijuana death on record? Can you od ?

  19. mt says:

    ive been smoking spice almost every day….. its the dumb kids who smoke 2 + grams of the really strong stuff in one sitting who go to the hospital… i smoke a lower grade which just makes me mellow and chill…. i dont get any of the side effects, even the “cough”…. it was just made illegal in orange county but is sold in surrounding counties…. people who think spice is pot on steroids are ignorant…

  20. Pimpdapot says:

    To those brothers and sisters of mine in the armed services as of 2011 the military is starting to test for spice not sure if it will be one of the 100% tested drugs like weed and coke, but fair warning and if I find out more info I’ll post it here.

    Thank you for this thread and all the info you have provided.

  21. TIP Mac Dre says:

    There has never ever been a death or overdose from marijuana. The worst thats ever happened is the user has been very hungry, very sleepy, and very happy. Meanwhile alcohol leads the death toll every year. Makes a lot of sense right?

  22. DeeZ NutZ says:

    For the people who say its stronger than pot your wrong. Now it dose have simalar affects like anxity and tacicardia . If you cant handle smokeing spice then you shouldnt smoke weed. The buzz spice gives you is for like 30-45 mins tops as to marijuana is 3 hours +. i dotn suggest anyone smokes spice becuase it sucks and they should just make weed legal so people dont have to resort to this stupied sh!t.

  23. FORT Riley KS says:

    the spice makers are smart…every pack sold in texas says no banned substances..they cant stop it or test for it..believe me

  24. Thunder says:

    You shouldn’t be blaming spice for your family problems. If you son decides he wants to smoke spice thats his own decision and you dont have a say to blame spice for the consequences of HIS actions. Just like people drink and drive and get into an accident. Some people choose to drink others choose to smoke. You should be happy your son isnt shooting up heroin.

    Thank You

  25. Rr says:

    How come everyone hates. y do u care what other people do if they want to smoke it, let them. Take responsibility for your self and don’t ruin what fun people have left

  26. god says:

    it’s funny, people speak of side effects that are occurring withing the body. anxiety and woot not.

    tell me that in your life, you have never experienced a rapid heart rate, anxiety, joy, confusion. tell me you have not felt emotions. tell me you have not noticed physical side effects to simply breathing in the earths oxygen. life is a side effect.

    do what you want, because one day you wont have the opportunity to feel any kind of side effect. simulated or not.


  27. joey says:

    Listen … spice is great.. some can be to strong like mushrooms… but it has kept me off heroin and other hard drugs for over a year.. and IT DOES NOT SHOW UP IN URINES.. who ever said probation test for it or a treat ment center,, there just telling you that cuz they suspect ur using it and u break down like dummys… any way its all free choice.

  28. Hud says:

    I’ve shown up for weed on current drug tests for my school. Will spice show up in those? They like, send off my piss and everything. It’s almost flattering, to see that they care that much about what’s in my pee.
    Anyways, I’d like to stay toasty, and still be in sports. Any help is appreciated.

  29. noone important says:

    Spice is horrible. the effects are tremendous. weed cannot compare. i tried it for the first time last night and i don’t even know what was real and what wasn’t.. everyone uses there senses at the same time (hear,smell,touch,taste,see) i forgot how to do all of those, each occured one by one. my body slowed down and my heart beat did as well… it felt like i was dead, like that was it. i started forgetting my memories and questioned about life itself. this is the afternoon after it happend and i still feel the effects. i do not recommend this for anyone.. and it doesnt matter how much you do, cuz that was after one hit.. (don;t do it. not worth it.)

  30. Bobbie says:

    My man does this spice thing…i dont like it but i put up with it…i think that people who smoke it and get all these crazy side affects are either light weight young kids or just imagining it….i dont like it but who cares what ppl do and choose to do with their own lives if they wanna smoke it in their lungs and go to the grave smoking it then so be it let them make the stupid choice this is AMERICA ppl the land of the free and the home of the brave……????? WTF???? I dont see those side affects when my man uses it…so what? Smoke to your domes content who cares????? I dont!!! This spice thing has gotten out of control with the law and its just another thing that the law is trying to get control over the citizens with…its stupid….you know….saddam hussien or some dum shit like that or hitler brought all the cocaine into the country and now the law is going to start trying to ban shit that doesnt even have banned items in it??? If the law would just legalized mary jane then spice would cease to exist and ppl could go about their lives and smoke the good stuff! Even NUNS wanted to legalize marijuana! WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT SAY????

  31. Anne says:

    I am an EMT and the company I work for has recently made it policy that employees will be tested for “spice”. When doing a drug test will the drug show up on a urine test and what will it show up as?

  32. Lori (MOM) says:

    My son and a friend smoked Spice, My sons friend didn’t do so well, he passed out, with vomiting and seizures. My son could not call 911. he kept dialing 991, someone stopped to help my sons friend. He was still vomiting and seizing. I don’t know if anyone knows…but if a person passes out and vomits they can choke on their vomit and aspirate. Aspiration leads to no oxygen, and no oxygen leads to heart failure and brain damage. So don’t tell me that Spice is harmless. My son was vomiting and unable to speak, his eyes were unable to focus on anything. ER doc said the chemicals in the Spice are unregulated and very dangerous for human consumption.

  33. April says:

    my boyfriend smokes spice on the regular….depending on the brand- depends on how goofy he gets- some like “head trip”…..and comatose candy- 2012-and VENOM, make him superfried…it lasts for hours….he works in a chemical plant, and drives heavy machinery and works with dangerous chemicals and liquids…and not to mention machines like hoses under pressure and such- he smokes before n after work- and when he wakes up before anyything he smokes….highly addicted; and if he doesnt have the $$ for it—– he gets supermad…looks for ways to getit- calls his fellow spice smoking employees..they come to my house unannounced and fire it up- makes me mad but ugh- spice is a VERY costly habit and i really dont appreciate it- headtrip makes you hallucinate- cant really breathe- throw up massssivelyy and dizzinessss and just cant catch your balance, im 20 years old and can say i will never headtrip again, one hit and my whole world was ruined, not to mention i stayed high from 6am til 10pm after smoking a bowl of it for the first time..it didnt hurt me at first then when i smoked it as a blunt, that “1hit” made me puke n such- ugh… but i really dont appreciate it and dont likeit, and i dont like that when he is working high on it- if something were to happen physically to him….bc of the effects of spice…. {SEIZURES-ANYTHING ELSE,,} then idk it worries me but he doesnt care- all hes worried about is his “next HIGH” :[ FML. F-SPICE,period, i never thought i would say this…….but maryjane is a god compared to spice….

  34. scarlet says:

    im in arizona and i go to tasc once a week, is tasc testing for this yet?

  35. voodoo1 says:

    There’s over 480 different types of canabanoids! They can only select a few and link those chemicals only to make an accurate test,which the producer then mixes up the chem order so no matter what they’ll never catch up. Don’t let them trick you its a big bluff just look up Dr. Huffman the creator of jwh. Some good info. And with the side effects crap well I guess we’ll have to wait for the dea’s oppinion on that matter.

  36. dui f*****? says:

    ok here’s my problem i go to court soon and had a dui in az, i have not done any drugs other than spice, does anyone know if it will show up in urine?

  37. smoke1 says:

    its MDKP a chemical that is best described as marijuana mixed with cocaine, hence the compulsatory re-dosing. It is a hallusinogen unlike marijuana. Watch out it makes you sick in high doses but lasts only 30mins so not very dangerous if in a controled environment. Please dont use with driving—dumb idea.

  38. Gears says:

    This looks like a classic example of people freeking out. Spice is a new drug out on the market because marijuana is not legal. If weed was legalized already this wouldn’t even be an issue. Spice is not like crak or heroine. Yes its addictive but campared to cigerettes not so addictive. Plus I’ll bet that most of the kids sent to the emergency room smoking this stuff were probably doing something else that they didn’t want to fess up to.
    Spices high is pretty mild. So I wouldn’t doubt it that the kids were mixing drugs with the spice. Plus making a huge deal over this stuff will only make teenagers want to go try it out for themselves even more.

  39. Mike says:

    I’ve smoked spice several times and NEVER threw up or needed to go to the hospital. If you are mentally fragile neither weed or spice is for you. As said several times it’s for adults. Responsible human beings. I think it has no addictive properties seeing how I’m not addicted and neither is anyone I kno who smokes it. Take into consideration that mental state and your bodies unique reaction to chemicals take factors into how you react to it. IMHO alcohol should be illegal (even if blue moon is delicious lol) due to the HIGH number if deaths and illnesses caused by it. When weed kills someone let me know and I’ll retract my statement 🙂

  40. Amber says:

    Spice won’t hurt you unless you’re dumb and smoke too much.

  41. phil says:

    so we live in a world were they tried to ban substance’s cause of there believed affects of not only the user but apparently to the surrounding societies. but here we are poised with a problem. people who do not agree with those against it have found a way around it, and now we are concerned as the affect of this “new” drug. the question isnt wether or not this drug can be tested. but when will we come together as people and change our point of view on things. allot of people are concerned about how bad this new drug is but when will it be understood that our policies on drugs like marijuana are the cause for these new and dangerous things. we need to learn how to treat, warn and rehabilitate people that have taken a drug that affected them negatively. as apposed to firing, jailing, scaring, and fining everyone. these methods have not worked and are the direct cause for spice. if i was not to loose my job for smoking weed. i wouldnt smoke spice. as with alchol if i were deemed to be have a problem with drugs and was sent to a rehabilitation clinic i would learn more about my problem instead of looking for new ways to make sure i can still have a life in this society. cause i can tell you this right now. ive smoke weed for almost 10 years. i am an emt striving for my RN and am in no way destroyed by this drug. now mind you thats a decisional choice ive made and i understand that not everyone is gonna agree with my decisions. but this is a cross road we have reached. and understand b4 you complain about what this drug has done to your loved one’s that it is our current policy and only our current policy that has created this.

    and to answer your question dui f*****? :

    no there is no way to test for any type of spice you can find in a smoke shop. there are two reasons for this.

    1) any drug posted as illegal is just that. illegal, not only to use but to sell. so if you bought it. it doesnt contain the illegal substance that could be tested for.

    2) we are no longer a idiocratic society. just as spice was created by finding a chemical that mimics the wanted affect without containing the apposed chemicals. the moment that this new drug is figured out we will already have 5 other substance’s to replace it. by the time this is all done and over with we will have 100 differnt types of weed. at about 55$ per drug test. you figure out the cost.

    id also like to end this by saying what a horrible society we live in were i can smoke something that has a 90% chance of killing me and is accepted by everyone. but something that hasnt been recorded to have killed a single person can send me to jail. its just bad business

  42. lupe says:

    I want to know for how long does the spice stay in your system????

  43. Lovely says:

    Will spice come out on a blood test???

  44. Daven says:

    I was wondering, can a drug patch test for spice if its sent to the lab or is it only tested through urine?

  45. Keri Spencer says:

    Spice is dangerous. Please don’t be fooled by this drug. You may not have side effects everytime but it only takes once. My 18 year old son used spice and hung himself. He was a good kid not wanting to do anything illegal. Parents take warning. I miss him sooo much!

  46. Anonymous says:

    for all of you saying that you’re not addicted to a substance (including weed) i’d just like to say that most people who say they’re not addicted to weed usually are psychologically addicted to it and are in denial. addiction is mental and physical and though weed is not physically addictive most people ARE addicted. If you ever say “i really need to smoke a bowl” or “i really need a beer” or refer to any substance in that manner you ARE addicted. if you think you’re not then go ahead and stop whatever it is after you read this post and see how long you last. i dare you…

  47. David says:

    Towards Keri and all of these parents who are so concerned about their “good little angels” I have smoked spice over the last year as an every day habit….heavy. Now the reason all these people are getting sick is due to an overdose of the chemical. Being that the strength is relative to the brand it’s hard to judge. I have gotten sick plenty of times off spice. Time to step back, look at the situation and see what went wrong…..Hmmm I started feeling different very fast and kept smoking anyways….bad idea. Brands like head trip, down2earth and other are RIDICULOUSLY overpowered. As an experienced smoker I smoke those with caution cause there is such thing as knowing your limit. The sicker you get the more of the product you have ingested. As for people killing themselves…if you have a hidden mental issue (not making assumptions) just like with the ‘bath salts’ it’s going to intensify that problem. Especially if it’s something like paranoia. Mind you it’s not the best for you. Marijuana is MUCH MUCH better but as an alternative, it’s ok in MODERATION. KEY WORD: MODERATION!!! Think about it and do your homework on the certain chemical that you’re deciding to ingest for the first time.

  48. Concerned Wife says:

    My husband is currently on parole. He smokes spice, but he’s suppose to take drug test weekly. Is it possible for it to be detected in his urine?

  49. Joyce says:

    I have a 16 year old son who is currently on probations for alcohol and pot, you can all sit here and say that it is ok to smoke it, it is legal, and its NOT, really, get a life, live a real life, one that will make you a productive citizen when you “GROW UP”. I am ashamed to say that you people are the reason we have this problem here in this country, pot heads, druggies, alcoholics, all of you, and as a parent I would like to say thank you for your help in raising my child, you are amazing teachers.