It is a product made to mimic naturally occurring cannabis. Manufacturers spray man-made chemicals (cannabinoids) onto various types of plant material and sell it in packets with names such as Spice, Kronic, Kalma, Voodoo, Kaos or Mango Kush. Cannabinoids occur naturally or can be manufactured.
Naturally occurring cannabis is a completely different drug from the various mixtures that are called synthetic cannabis and do not contain THC. While synthetic cannabis is purportedly designed to give users a similar high to cannabis, its effects are largely unpredictable.
Internet forums for people who use synthetic cannabis often feature discussions about which brands and varieties to avoid due to unwanted side effects. Studies report negative side effects including nausea, vomiting, chest pains, anxiety, seizures, panic attacks, disorientation and headache. It is also worthy of note that several people have died after using synthetic cannabis, including recent deaths in Queensland. In contrast, some users also report the products do nothing at all!
When synthetic cannabis was legal (prior to 2011), some people reported using it as an alternative to illegal botanical cannabis. When it was first available, others may have used it in an attempt to avoid a positive drug test at work, such as those in the mining industry.
Now synthetic cannabis is banned throughout Australia and using it is against the law, likewise, drug testing techniques have improved and many companies drug policies have caught up, banning employees from using synthetic cannabis products along with other illegal drugs. Given these changes, the reason for using the drug may vary; some people may use synthetic cannabis to experiment and try something different, they may try it because they aren’t aware it is illegal, because the packaging makes it look safer or because it s easier to purchase.