The dangers of synthetic marijuana had been on the rise before marijuana’s legalization in certain states. However, there are still users hospitalized for marijuana’s chemical substitute in other states and various countries.

In VICE’s video “Spice Boys”, Ben Ferguson ventures to Manchester to explore the dangerous addictive effects of “spice”, a legal drug that physically resembles flower.

The effects of synthetic marijuana are capable of dangerously altering a users mind and body, as seen in the video. Titch, a homeless young man addicted to spice, tries to remain still, but fails in his interview with Ferguson. His behavior appears jumpy, sporadic and agitated, much like that of a highly addicted heroin addict.

Ferguson describes the manufacturing of spice, vertex, pandora and insane joker, drugs that look similar to marijuana, but are far more deadly. He states:

“Synthetic cannabis, like spice, mimics the effects of weed by replicating and slightly altering the chemical that gets people high. Legal high manufacturers design cannabinoids and constantly update the composition of their products so that they remain within the law. But these experiments can leave the users smoking a legal version of weed that can be a hundred times stronger.”

Chemically altered marijuana look-a-likes like spice can easily be purchased in Manchester head shops. Spice users develop a severe dependency because of its easy availability and highly addictive chemical compound.

Tez Clegg, a case worker for Manchester’s homeless charity Lifeshare, tells Ferguson that the people he sees come in from the streets are more susceptible to buying these drugs because of their price and intense effects. Judy Vickers, a team leader for Lifeshare, tells Ferguson “this is supposed to be legal, but has a censored deterioration that you’d expect from crack…crack cocaine.”

Though the frequency of using these drugs may be more apparent in other countries, it is highly important for people everywhere to understand the dangerous effects of synthetic marijuana.