German Drug Czar Seeks ‘Spice’ Ban

BERLIN – Germany will ban the sale and possession of the herbal drug mixture known as “spice,” after finding it contained a synthetic ingredient similar to marijuana, the country’s drug czar said Tuesday.

Drug Commissioner Sabine Baetzing is seeking a ban on the blend by the end of January after research on “spice” found that it was four times more powerful than marijuana. Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands have also banned the herb mix.

“Consumption of this substance is dangerous for a person’s health,” Baetzing said in a statement.

Authorities across Europe have been taking a closer look “spice” since its use became trendy earlier this year. They say it is being sold on the street as well as in so-called “head shops.”

Officials say “spice” is typically rolled into cigarettes and smoked.

The drug has been marketed under a variety of different blends, or flavors including “Spice Silver,” “Spice Gold,” “Spice Diamond,” “Spice Arctic Synergy,” “Spice Tropical Synergy” and “Spice Yukatan Fire.”

Meanwhile, the colorful metallic 3-gram packages of “spice” continue to fly off the shelves in Berlin’s alternative Kreuzberg district, where it sells for around €30 ($43) per 3-gram packet.

“We just got a shipment in yesterday, and it will be gone within the week,” Janna Ehlke, 28, who works at a shop called Headache, said recently. “It produces a great high.”

A London-based company called Psyche Deli is listed on the packaging as making “spice,” but when contacted by telephone, company representative Jeff Anderson said they only sold, but did not manufacture the product. He refused to comment further.

Thomas Daldrup, a toxicologist at the University of Duesseldorf, said he believes the mixture has become popular because it provides a placebo effect.

“It’s as expensive as cannabis, and since people suspect that it works the same way, they will believe there is really an effect,” Daldrup said in a telephone interview.

Heike Krauser, who works at Berlin’s Emergency Drug Services, said concerns of a health risk are real, noting that users of “spice” have told her they experienced a faster heart beat, as well as a high that worked longer than marijuana.

In Germany, the possession of a small amount of marijuana is tolerated in most of its 16 states.

Baetzing also blamed a recent flurry of media attention surrounding “spice” for helping to establish it as a trend, especially among younger users.

– Article from the International Herald Tribune on December 30, 2008.



  1. Anonymous on

    hey man…i’m also in the military and im really concern to do this because im not sure if i’ll be cleared when they drug test us. they do it ramdomly.

  2. Anonymous on

    This a sweet example to what prohibition leads. Pot is expansive as it is illegal thanks to prohibition. And so, a British business man comes up with the idea to leash a herbal mix with a synthetic THC compound and cashing in as this synthetic compound is not banned yet. Kids buy it since it is legal despite know one knowing the full effect of the substance instead of smoking the safer real thing: POT. And all the german drug czar comes up with is to ban the substance which can be quickly replaced by another synthetic form which would be then legal again… smart one prohibitionists. Guess the pharmaceutical industry gaining here as well or these bureaucrats would be soo sloppy.

  3. Anonymous on

    It does work, no question about it. It’s not placebo, it contains the syntetic cannabinoid JWH-018. (Google “spice AND jwh-018”)

    Of course, the effects are not excactly the same as from cannabis. For me? I get a little wobbly, I get mad munchies, red eyes, nice cosy feeling… It is better than poor hasch (which is the standard where I come from) but nowhere near as good as really good bud.

    Also, judging from the talk about JWH-018 – it seems that it is way more dangerous than cannabis. Ironic, isn’t it? I smoke it because it actually works, I can’t rarely get any good shit where I live and right now: I will probably have to take piss-tests in the very near future…

  4. Anonymous on

    I found out about spice about august of 07 and it wasn’t as powerful as marijuana and had a horrible taste to it. (i found this out after going home on leave and smoking marijuana to going back to japan and smoking spice and feeling nothing but a bad taste in my mouth) The smell is more of an aroma then anything. The military has become huge with buyers and sellers (many going to the brig) We’ve all been told is undetectable in “piss-tests” so, that’s why many do it.