Spice Use

Spice, also commonly referred to as K2, Funky Green Stuff, or Black Magic Smoke, is an herbal and chemical product which when taken by an individual mimics the effects of cannabis. The synthetic cannabis is generally sold in head shops. Normally it is sold as a potpourri with a warning that it is not for human consumption.  Despite this warning and the lack of any long term testing to determine the effects from consumption, it has become increasing popular among members of the military who are looking to avoid failing a drug test. Although it is possible to detect the metabolites from synthetic cannabis, the Army’s current testing procedures do not detect spice use as being a positive drug test for cannabis or any other illegal drug.

Given the concern over synthetic cannabis, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced on 24 November 2010, it would make five synthetic cannabinoids Schedule I drugs by using its emergency powers to do so. The DEA stated it intended to publish a final rule to temporarily control synthetic cannabis like Spice in the Federal Register before the end of the year.

Even without the DEA’s action, the Army prohibits soldiers from using Spice and other synthetic cannabis substances. While Army Regulation 600-85 does not specifically mention synthetic cannabis substances, it does prohibit soldiers from using any substance that is taken primarily to alter the central nervous system. Soldiers caught with Spice or a Spice-like substance will likely be charged with violating Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is a failure to follow an order or regulation.  This could result in UCMJ action or chapter separation.