The Hard Lives of Britain’s Synthetic Marijuana Addicts

Spice just hits you like a truck,
it just knocks you out. Whereas bud you just sit and chill. You know what? I wish I could go back to my bud. Because you know what,
Spice, it’s horrible. I woke up after the Spice,
with vomit all over my bed, and myself. I know a kid who died of it. Couldn’t get his heart beating more. It was beating too fast,
it just went and shook out. As the new government began
making moves to ban all legal highs, we headed to Manchester,
where synthetic drugs like Spice, and other brands like Vertex,
Pandora, and Insane Joker, are freely available to buy from news
agents and places known as head shops. Although manufacturers state on
the packets that they’re not fit for human consumption,
legal highs are used recreationally. And they make the press when
students overdose on them. Most people thought it was
a recreational drug, a party drug, something that you could,
perhaps, dip in and out of. But actually, nobody really knows
what they’re made of part and what structure they have and
how they impact on the body. Although students with a support
network tend to dip in and out of synthetic drugs. We wanted to meet a much more
vulnerable group of people who can suffer from the affects of
a real dependency on legal highs. All the clients that
are presenting here are using spice. It’s affecting the mental health,
it’s affecting the physical health, and it’s a massive, massive problem. Manchester has more rough sleepers
then anywhere else outside of London. Cuts to council services have left the city with 20% fewer emergency
beds than there were five years ago. And during that time, legal highs have become a crutch to many
of the people who now live on the streets. I use it myself, and I use it because it takes the pain away. It’s legal. What can I do? I can sit here now, there could be 20 officers around
me with guns and everything. As long as pull a bag of spice out and
start rolling it, I can roll it. Nothing that anybody can do. I pull a bag of weed out and
they’ll all be on me like a car bonnet. How might people go about trying to
get hold of it once you can’t go to a shop and buy it? There’s always gonna
be some match level drug. There’s already street dealers out there. Are you worried though that it
might start criminalizing people? Yes, yes I’ve seen some bad you
have got to look at this drug, it’s bringing heroine addicts, I know a
heroine addict that’s a Spice addict now. He takes Spice like he used to take
heroine every single day of the week. He doesn’t took to heroine now, so that heroine a class A drug and
the Spice is bringing him off that. What is in this stuff? It’s amazing. The Misuse of Drugs Act
controls substances on the basis of their structure. The banned cannabinoid in weed is THC. 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. One of the few volunteer
organizations that caters to Manchester’s homeless
community is Lifeshare, a charity that looks after young people
seeking advice and accommodation. Where I’ve just come from
is everywhere… It’s everywhere… Yeah, it’s everywhere. People are making thousands
of pounds off that. In jail, yeah. And trust me I’ve seen
some kids in wheelchairs. It’s funny, yeah, but afterwards it’s not. So more people just die. Pretty much most of our
clients use the Spice. I think the main reason that it’s
being used quite a lot, is it’s cheap. People that used to smoke cannabis,
they’re spending ten pound on cannabis. And they’re getting two smokes out of it. They’re spending five
pound on a gram of spice. And it’s going a lot further and
it’s a lot stronger as well, I believe. What I’ve noticed when it comes
to Manchester is the number of rough sleepers there are. Most of our clients now
are homeless and will sleep here. Why is that? Well, realistically there’s
budget cuts to various services or whatever, and homelessness has been a major one. We need more shelters and
we need more hostels. Lifeshare is the first point of contact
for people living on the streets, and currently sees over 100 clients. A regular member of their
drop-in clinic is Titch. I’ve got a spliff there. Where do you sleep at night, Titch? Car park up Portland Street. Are you waiting for a hostel? When was the last time
you had a Spice hit? About half 10, 11 o’clock this morning. How are you feeling right now? Like I want to kill someone. I want to go back into Strangeways
(Prison) and do a 28 day detox. But that would be pointless. Why would it be pointless
going into Strangeways? Because there’s more Spice in there
than what’s out on the streets. [INAUDIBLE] You look like you’re about to roll a spliff. Yeah, [INAUDIBLE] I forgotten
a spliff this morning. That’s about 40 spliffs
right there in that one. I don’t want it, but I’m in pain. I’m in that much pain. Where does it hurt? My stomach, shooting pains down my leg, shooting pains up my spine. Pains in my neck and in my arm. Harmful if swallowed. May cause respiratory irritation. Do you want a glass of water to drink? Have you ever seen any other drug like this? This is supposed to be legal, but it has a sense of deterioration
that you don’t expect from crack. Crack cocaine, and then quickly, rapidly deteriorated,
over a few weeks of using it. I’ve gone from that to this. Can you remember the first
time you started Spice? In the summer seeing young people
begging that would have never normally begged before and
they’re going begging for Spice. Risking their accommodation and
everything, cuz they’re not going home to accommodation cuz they’re off their
faces on Spice in the car parks. How much Spice do you smoke? Six grams a day. Six grams a day?
– Yeah. And how much does that cost? It’s three for 20 pounds so
you are looking at about 30 pounds or 40 pounds a day. I’d rather it be illegal because, do you
know what yeah I’d rather blaze my bud. Look at me now yeah, right,
I’m rattling, right, my head’s all over, right,
and I can’t think straight. Now, if this was bud, don’t get me wrong,
I’d be sat here stressed, Judy’s seen me stressed when I’ve not had bud, but I’m not like this, I’m not rattling. You know what, it’s horrible. And it’s the same irritability that
you would associate with crack, but you’re actually sometimes now showing
physical withdrawal signs as well, which you usually associate with heroin. I mean some of the young people here
describe the heart palpitating and really, really going really fast. They just will not take on board that how detrimental it’s gonna be to their
mental health, their long-term well-being. How did it make you feel? The first time I had it?
– Yeah. It was actually Pandora’s box as well. Were you there? We can do that. I think. I don’t know! What are you doing with your legs? And I was just waving my legs,
laughing my ass off at every single thing. I don’t know. You had a spliff about half an hour ago now. How are you feeling now? I’m not as bad, a bit anxious but not too bad. I’m putting my full time into
getting off Spice, I know I can but I have to be away from
being surrounded by it. At the moment the town has
become a breeding ground for it. Everybody comes into town, they won’t
go home because they need to get Spice. It’s being in this
situation on the streets, while everybody else is doing it, that I
kind of find it hard to get away from it. Titch, do you see that your way out
of Spice, and being surrounded by Spice culture is by getting
a secure accommodation in a hostel? Yes, d’you know what? I’ve said this from day one. I will stop smoking Spice when
I get in a hostel, right? And the only reason, the reason is yeah,
is because of the bud. I’d love to smoke my bud after
this because I know yeah, my bud ain’t making me unfit,
it ain’t making me drop, it ain’t fucking my head up and that. Before meeting Tim, Johan realized that
legal highs like Spice were addictive. He’s only gone a few hours without smoking
it before showing signs of withdrawal. There’s the rattling going now. I wanted to find out from someone
whose job it is to get people off drugs, if the legal status of a particular
substance had any impact on whether people take it or not. There is a level of naivete
around thinking that by making legal highs illegal,
people will be less inclined to use them. If somebody is already in a situation of
relative chaos in their life in general, it would be unlikely that we would see
a significant impact in people using them. It’s not necessarily gonna positively
impact on the people who are using it, but it impacts on who’s in charge of the
supply and where the supply comes from. It’s a public health issue. And what we wouldn’t want to see is for the criminal aspect of that problem to be
prioritized over the public health aspect. I think all services providing
information, support, access for members of the public, we’ve had
significant financial cuts, I think, over the last five years. And that’s probably going to continue, so there’ll be a 25% reduction in
the overall spend on drugs and alcohol. He’s one of the biggest
Spice heads in town. I know two people who have died of it. At a city center soup kitchen, local health workers are dealing with
Spice casualties on a daily basis. The guy that we first
came across on the wall, he was completely out of it, unconscious. We’ve been talking to
lots of people about it. They say they’ve never seen a drug
have as massive effects as legal highs do on people. No. We’ve gone from having no problems with it to now we’re getting three or
four people every night. We’ve had no training on it, obviously,
when we did the training it wasn’t there, now we are starting to get training on
it because there’s so much out there, it’s so bad. Outlawing something doesn’t sort of
change people’s intention to do something. It doesn’t no, but it becomes
illegal more can be done about it. Same again, now I can smell it now. – Yeah, me too. And it doesn’t smell like weed,
does it? No.
It is so much chemically related, that nobody really knows what’s in it. It will knock you out and it will numb
your senses to the elements and stuff. This is why it’s becoming
a homeless phenomenon, it’s because it numbs your senses and it makes you dull and
it makes the elements not bother you. Later that night we went to find it. As we wandered the streets,
it was hard to ignore the irony and the fact that Spice was, to some degree,
a problem of the government’s own making. And there seemed to be a similarity
between Titch’s cycle of satisfying his own addiction and the government’s way of handling drugs. A sort of Whac-a-Mole tactic that
only serves as a temporary solution. As ministers debate the details of
the new psychoactive substances bill, while cutting addiction services and
housing support, only time will tell where the problem
might pop up again in the future.

100 thoughts on “The Hard Lives of Britain’s Synthetic Marijuana Addicts

  1. I was a herion addict for 12 years and I saw this spice shit have an affect on a lot of people!
    It’s an evil drug, worse than the class A stuff like cocaine and crack and heroin it grabs people by the bollocks and don’t let go!
    I’ve been clean for nearly two years now and am glad I don’t have to see people killing them selves with this shit anymore!!

  2. Ahahahahha…… "That's about FORTY SPLIFFS right there" Holy fkin shit, at least get a reporter that knows something about what's going on… 😂😂😂…. Pull out a Gram of Coke.. "That about 10kg of Coke right there"

  3. When Vice ditches the vérité style in favour of a direct approach, the content is invariably better. There are way fewer downsides, for example, the so-called reporter doesn't butcher the pronunciation of 'cannabinoid'.

  4. All due respect to Tich, but 'accommodation before quitting' is not credible. It's a tacit admission that you're not prepared yet to go through detox and rehab.

  5. 2 years clean off spice in January will be 2 years and it was one of the worst drugs I ever touched in my life I'll never touch that shit again it will fucking destroy you because their people who don't get crazy from it or pass out standing up and it takes the addiction further u can't even eat or sleep without it and when you don't have it you get mean

  6. ..thats killed people here in New Zealand ..magic mushrooms are safer they grow at my local bus stop but no one does that nowadays ..everyone is on meth

  7. The problem of weed [MJ] vs. Spice-alike products (synthetic cannabinoids [SC]) is deeper than some popular comments indicate. 1) MJ contains many chemicals and it's almost impossible to check the long time risks. Also it's a dirty drug – it's like drilling a small hole using hammer or flushing a bucket of paint to paint a dot. SC uses selective chemicals – less parts of brain affected=less side effects 2) …unless substance is toxic (e.g. to brain) by itself and it happens more and more often because safest drugs were banned years ago and now most drugs are at least potentially neurotoxic because fluorine – first delegalizations made products more dangerous. 3) in 1 I'm saying it's safer, so why it's perceived as less safe? Many reasons, including a) if you buy weed you need some mate who will eventually explain how to handle it; with SC it's rarely the case; b) think of 3% beer and vodka. Does vodka kills? Well, if you'd drink it like a beer, then possibly. That's why you don't smoke it like MJ. c) statistical bias and rumors – there are urban legends known at least since 40 years, – adopted (from original LSD or PCP) to put modern SC in bad light. Of course everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who put kid to oven after LSD/PCP/SC/p.r. administration of MJ. d) early Spice-alike products were made by professionals, now every chav or gopnik can do it and sell it. 4) SC boost tolerance very quickly, so you need stronger products. Shops offer them, but when kids wanna buy something, they would probably get something that's average for people with incredible tolerance, but for newbies it might be too strong – i.e. lack of morality of producers (they don't change brand names when the ingredients change; they could use some code understood by users to indicate which chemical is there and how much of it) and silly work of governments which delegalized it without thinking that a small, mostly medial problem will become… well, tiny comparing to other drugs, but much bigger than it was.

  8. I’m smoking weed/Dab pen and I’m blitzed asf.
    – I was crying to this because here in Cali we smoke top shelf product, and it’s nothing like crack. But this truly hurts me. It truly does.

  9. So sad to watch videos like this grew up in manchster and smoked spice for about 3 years n was homeless for 2 almost killed my aelf 3 times smoking and people can sit here n turn their nose up at these people but a spice addcition is so hard to deal with and a very unpredictable addcition and its easy to judge people who still smoke but when you could buy it nearly everyshop in each connor in manchster city center its hard to get away from and for the price it was always their… being homeless having no family no money spice feels like a good friend and a friend to help you forget whata going on in the real world!! Their needs to be more surpport for people that have trouble with this dirty stuff… to anyone who actully reads this and smokes its belive me i know its hard but that shit will end your life could just be half of spliff one day after all day of smoking… nasty stuff…

  10. Once I had to get high so much that I sucked a dick for cocaine, oh shit I mean weed, yeah weed, or heroin, I forgot which one was it.

  11. That's poison and you can get it here but I don't know anyone who fucks with it !! Everyone knows it's terrible crap 💩!!💯🔨🏈🎼👍🏻🍀💡❤️🙏

  12. People would not be ODing on anything if government was not regulating things to the extent that they promote suffering and making the majority of us slaves that are only suppose to work till we die with very little enjoyment in life. I wish all of these control freaks felt the personal suffering and misery of all the people that their decisions make in their own lives and family and that they see that they are the cause of the suffering. Not only in this life but every life before and after their current life, so perhaps it might give them the incentive to act properly and do things that help society as oppose to causing harm to the majority of people in society. So that I would not have a child suffer the problems that I have in life, I decided it is best to not have children long as I am on this world, as what people call Hell is a far better place than here many times. Hades, Satan and many others are far more kinder to us than those in agencies that say they are acting on our best interests when they are clearly not.

    I'm not saying people should be stoned, as that is a very bad feeling to me. It is very easy to get drugs to get stoned, just talk to any psychiatrist and they will prescribe them to you for depression and even you can many times get them for free. But the things that help people feel good about themselves and give them the mental power to enjoy life that is another story as those are over the last 90 year made illegal for anyone outside of a few select people as in the book Animal Farm some are more equal than others.

  13. These people are using spice to take care of their problems that have been caused by the banking cartels that have done more damage than the drug cartels to the people of the world by causing 2 world wars and doing things to start a 3rd world war, have caused the destruction of the lives of many around the world. This using such drugs is only seen as a problem because they are self medicating. They would not be dong it if they had a life that they could look forward to everyday. The best way to solve such drug problems is to remove the laws and change regulations that make it so difficult for people to have a home of their own and be able to support themselves, have a pet, some hobbies, and enjoyment of life. People would not be addicted if they did not have PTSD caused by government and policing practices not only in England but in most countries around the world.

    Government regulations are what created the opportunity for Al Capone, and all of the other organized crime figures, and all of the drug cartels. When people are not able to solve their problems with surviving in this world legally because of the obstacles and oppression that has been created by businesses, corporations and governments, they will either turn to something illegal or end their life. That is because they have no other option, and far too many are blind to this fact.

  14. They only getting 1 blunt extra it ain’t worth it ima smoke this real gas idgaf legal or not they gone have to come take this shit

  15. Does different things to different people gotta Kno how to and how much to smoke and the the tripping is like acid if you think you gonna trip the fuck out you gonna been smoking the shit for 4 years

  16. I used to be addicted to this stuff like 8 years ago when i was 18 because and i couldn't smoke weed due to my job doing random drug tests so i got into this, i always knew my limit and when to stop until the next time but my brother almost died trying to get really high, I'm glad we're back to smoking weed, nobody dies, we just get super hungry it's all good.

  17. I did this shit for like a month man, that shit is no joke lol
    The thing with it it’s that the effects don’t even last that why you smoke 💨 smoke and smoke……

  18. He said at first they had no problem but Government stepped in and made the makers change their way of making it, now its a problem.

  19. Poor souls just wanted a weed high. Weed never gives you withdrawal. At worst you get hungry. Or if a chronic user n go without you might be cranky. Get that stuff out of shops

  20. To call that synthetic weed is a crime itselff. It has nothing to do with weed.people take it because weed isnt legal and they dont want to get cought .

  21. Making things illegal does not make them unavailable. The crutch is them how to make the harmful substance unavailable, which is impossible because people want to get so high so people will produce the stuff even illegally, because again people wanna get so high they’ll pay anything to do so and hence producers remain in the green even with the threats posed to them by govt.

  22. i tried k2 spice before all my friends where throwing up and i was tripping hard i could see everyone from the top i could see everyone little asf

  23. im so glad this garbage isn't around anymore. I knew people who smoked this and did heroin… I knew what they were like just on the dope, but after they started doing dope and smoking this at the same time they were like complete zombies. when it was getting outlawed they broke into a smoke shop by my friends house and stole spice.. nothing else. it was a smoke shop, man.. lmao. such idiots.

  24. The more you control and hinder the pharmaceutical ability to provide medicine people are looking for the stronger the underground labs will get… I grew up with cross tops, benies, Benzedrine tabs. Worked great 3 – 5 tabs good to go work hard and time flies… Then the legal speed came due to inability for bennies… They actually worked just as good… They banned that then came the Propenol base speed to snort, to crystal meth…. If you had left it with the bennies life would have been better for so many people…

  25. Pussies…. I smoked this shit for 3 years, employed the whole time. Nobody knew. Even though I’d throw up almost every morning before I had my first cone. Don’t do it 😁

  26. Synthetic cannabis simply doesn't exist… What they smoke is various chemicals passed as "drug". Horrible world. Makes me wanna die all day, now.

  27. Glad this crap can’t be found where I live. That is nothing like weed! Weed chills you out. This crap makes you seem like you’re on flakka. This is an insult to real weed.

  28. 5:02 he's gone… I've seen a lot of documentaries about cocaine, fentanyl, heroin. This synthetic shit goes close to meth or flakka. Crazy shit

  29. My nephew ended up with schizophrenia from smoking this crap!! We were very close and now we couldn't be further apart. I'm sad I lost him 😥

  30. Spice is called joker in jordan, and it actually led to a horrible murder, a guy was on that drug and he got so high and aggressive that he beheaded his mother and even ripped her eyes out the socket, it is one of the most horrible tragic murder cases related to drugs in Jordans history

    And if you don't believe me

  31. I smoke weed and if I can't find any of it right away when I run out I don't care . I'll wait a week or more or however long I have to wait. And I used to smoke two ounces of weed a week. I don't get stressed or anything when I don't have any left though. U must I have other problems to act like that

  32. I love these potheads in the comment section 😀 i mean if you want sure smoke weed, but dont cry if nobody cares when you dying. Cuz you are just some addict, just a human waste.

  33. The sad thing is, he’s never going to be able to get high from weed again. The very first time Spice was made it was in a lab. They were trying to study cannabinoid receptors. But when they designed spice it was done so that it overstimulated the receptors (sometimes even to the point of death) in order to be more easily seen in the scans conducted.

  34. i too smoked that spice gold like over 5 years ago. the high lasted very long and i start to feel psychotic. stay to natural stuff

  35. I remember trying this out when I was on probation since I was getting drug tested. I got hooked on it. I remember I used to be waiting at the smoke shop for it to open so I could buy a bag. It really was like meth. I ended up going to the hospital after getting a bad batch. I hallucinated for a week and I still can't remember what happened. It's been over 5 years now since the last time I touched that shit and I couldn't be happier.

  36. The government needs to legalize jwh-018, the original German made synthetic cannabinoid that had no harmful side effects and no freaking terrible withdrawl, and they need to mass release it in places like that and after everybody had converted to it and all the bullshizzz chemicals are taken off the market, burned, and forgotten, this would all change. People wouldnt be f'd up like this. My theory is that the government there wants people to die from it, that's why they dont put back the safe chemicals and leave the toxic ones. The government figures, if they choose to do it, they should suffer and die, and then there is one less problem.

  37. Ive lost many friends to this, this can give you seizures, heart attack, diarrhea, vomiting, (sometimes together), loss of body control, dehydration, etc. The list goes on. After one hit, you feel the addiction and effect immediately for many first timers it can cause paralyzation, but with a faint conscious. High and unable to move. Every other corner in the city where I live in, synthetic is the new heroin for addicts. For those who know people who are addicted to this, sweat it off and never again use anything synthetic, weed is one thing but i wouldnt wish this drugs side effects on my worst enemy. You can get clean, but you have to voluntarily get clean, and sweat it out. Go to the gym and hit the weights to channel your frustrations, never on a drug thats deteriorating you from the inside out.

  38. One time was I was, my bro was 13 we went to a shady smoke shop and the counter dude said he had 7gs for $40 so bought it and turnt out it was spice and I smoke all of it with my lil brother and we almost died fuck spice

  39. I'm in Indiana in USA & spice was criminalized here years before this doc came out! I literally saw kids go pale, pass out, & need an ambulance smh 🤦‍♀️😔

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