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Star Wars: What Is Spice?

Beneath the political turmoil and battles between users of the light and dark sides of the Force, the Star Wars galaxy contains a thriving criminal underworld. Kingpins across a variety of planets find success in the shadiest of activities, allowing smugglers and bounty hunters alike to earn their fair share of credits and gain fame and infamy alike. One of the hottest commodities in the galaxy's criminal ecosystem is a substance known as spice. It has appeared and been discussed throughout Star Wars media for decades, but what exactly is it?

Simply put, spice is an illicit substance that's very much in high demand throughout the galaxy. Though it's not stated precisely how spice impacts those under its influence, in "The Mandalorian," Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) hints that it does have some hallucinogenic qualities. The drug is commonly smoked and comes in different varieties, with perhaps the most well-known and sought-after being Sansanna spice. One of the main manufacturing hubs is Kessel, where slaves are forced to work endlessly in the mines under the Pyke Syndicate and, later, the Galactic Empire to harvest the spice mineral.

But while spice may seem like a bad thing for the "Star Wars" galaxy, it's not without an upside, albeit one that's too commonly ignored.

Spice can be used medicinally, but it rarely is

During most of its appearances in the Star Wars franchise, spice has been looked upon as a bad thing. In "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope," C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) laments that the Empire will toss him and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) into Kessel's spice mines; on "The Book of Boba Fett," Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) takes out the spice-hauling Pykes encroaching on his territory; and in "Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker," Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is picked on by his friends for once running spice. In reality, though, spice is only as bad as those in possession of it.

The truth is that some raw forms of spice can be used for medicinal or generally positive purposes. Take, for instance, the ore variety known as ryll, which is found on both Ryloth and Aaloth. It is surprisingly essential to both scientific and military projects, but, unfortunately, it's not typically used for either. Like other strands, it, too, is commonly used as an illegal drug rather than anything to help push science in a new direction or benefit military forces. With that said, it is one of the weaker variations and isn't considered the most profitable for smugglers to haul, either.

Even though it could do some good in the Star Wars galaxy, spice can't seem to avoid being widely used as an illicit substance. Thus, it stands to reason that's the reputation it will carry in the franchise for the foreseeable future.