"spiceophrenia": A systematic overview of "spice"- related psychopathological issues and a case report

Duccio Papanti, Fabrizio Schifano, Giulia Botteon, Francesca Bertossi, Jason Mannix, Daniela Vidoni, Matteo Impagnatiello, Elisabetta Pascolo-Fabrici, Tommaso Bonavigo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    134 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: The use of synthetic cannabimimetics (SC; "spice" drugs) is increasing, especially among teenagers and young adults. In parallel with this, the number of studies describing intoxication episodes associated with psychotic symptoms in SC users is growing. We present both a systematic review of the related literature and a case report, which seems to highlight the existence of a possible association between SC use and psychosis. Methods: Some 223 relevant studies were here identified and reviewed. Out of these, 120 full text articles were assessed for eligibility, and 41 were finally included in the systematic review. Results: According to the available data from the studies here identified, SC's average age of users was 22.97 years, and the male/female ratio was 3.16:1. SC compounds most often reported in studies using biological specimen analysis were JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-122, CP-47,497, and JWH-250. Mounting evidence seemed to suggest that psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions may occur in acute/chronic SC users. Conclusions: Although a clear causal link may not be here identified, the available evidence suggests that SC can trigger the onset of acute psychosis in vulnerable individuals and/or the exacerbation of psychotic episodes in those with a previous psychiatric history.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)379-389
    Number of pages11
    JournalHuman Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


    • "spice"
    • drug misuse
    • psychosis
    • synthetic cannabimimetics


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