It has many names — Black Mamba, Bliss, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie, K2, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Yucatan Fire, and Zohai — but whatever you call it, Spice is not nice. A synthetic drug made from shredded herbs and laboratory-made chemicals intended to mimic the effects of THC, Spice was originally marketed almost a decade ago as a stronger, cheaper, and legal alternative to cannabis. The reality is that it’s incredibly dangerous and in no way comparable to the healing plant.

Now known to cause a physical and mental shutdown in users, Spice holds appeal for people looking to completely escape reality. In the UK, it has become popular among the homeless and prison inmates, whom it transforms into zombie-like versions of themselves. To explore the Spice crisis in working-class Manchester, MJ News correspondent Adam Capper hit the streets and spoke to professionals seeking to stem the tide of addiction as well as users who’ve experienced the devastating effects of the drug firsthand.