“Spice” (also known as K2) is a psychoactive, intoxicating substance in a class of drugs known as synthetic cannabinoids. Unfortunately, however, it is much more powerful and dangerous than marijuana. Spice can induce severe anxiety, psychosis, seizures, and, occasionally, even result in death. In addition, this substance has the potential for addiction and can result in highly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when a person attempts to quit.
What Is Spice?
Synthetic cannabinoids don’t really contain cannabis. Instead, they include various lab-made chemicals designed to mirror some of tetrahydrocannabinol’s (THC) effects, which is the main psychoactive component in marijuana.
Synthetic cannabinoids bind to the same brain receptors that THC does. However, as noted, they are typically much more potent than marijuana, and their use can lead to severe physical, mental, and emotional effects.
Spice and its synthetic counterparts are commonly sprayed or sprinkled onto dried plants or herbs and smoked. Spice looks similar to marijuana and can also be found in the form of a liquid that can be vaporized. It is often sold in colorful pouches or bottles embellished with whimsical names. To evade legal issues, makers of synthetic marijuana often falsely market their products as incense or potpourri or as “not for human consumption.”
How Addictive Is Spice?
Synthetic marijuana is highly addictive, and those who use it regularly may experience withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly discontinue use. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be similar to those of marijuana and may include depression, anxiety, headaches, and irritability. Those addicted to spice may also encounter intense cravings, pounding heart, profuse sweating, increased blood pressure, and sleep disturbances.
How synthetic marijuana interacts with brain chemicals likely accounts for why it’s so addictive. Studies have shown that the drug attaches to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain up to 100 times more tightly than THC.
The addictive potential of synthetic marijuana and the intensity of its effects have caused many people to report it is more closely comparable to meth or crack cocaine.
Are You a Spice Addict?: Knowing the Signs
Substance addictions have a hallmark pattern of symptoms. Here are some signs that may indicate that an individual has a substance use disorder:
- Spice is taken in increasingly larger amounts or over a more extended period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire to control the use of the drug, but attempts at abstaining usually fail.
- A significant amount of time is spent engaging in activities needed to obtain the drug.
- Persistent drug cravings for spice.
- Recurrent use that interferes with home, work, or school obligations.
- Using the drug in dangerous situations, such as while driving or operating heavy machinery.
- Continued use of the drug despite continual problems associated with one’s health and well-being.
- Development of tolerance, such that increasingly higher amounts are needed to achieve the desired effects.
- Development of withdrawal symptoms after stopping use.
Am I Addicted to K2/Spice?
The following are some signs and symptoms of addiction to spice that should not be ignored:
- Tolerance or exhibiting a constant need for using higher amounts to experience the sought-after effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms that may include vomiting, having diarrhea, or experiencing severe headaches when not using the drug.
- Cravings or intense urges to obtain and use the drug, occupying one’s time so much that loved ones and work obligations are ignored.
Effects and Risks of Overdose
Adverse reactions to synthetic marijuana are not at all uncommon. Overdosing on this drug can cause psychosis and permanent organ damage. Common adverse effects of synthetic marijuana overdose include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Accelerated heart rate
- Anxiety and severe agitation
- Vivid hallucinations
- Suicidal ideations or actions
- Muscle spasms
- Bruising and bleeding
- Organ damage
Also, reports of overdose and death have been accumulating each year since spice first became available. Combining the drug with alcohol or other intoxicating substances is even more dangerous.
Treatment for Spice Addiction
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer a comprehensive, research-based approach to treating substance abuse and addiction. Our programs are uniquely tailored to meet each individual’s needs and goals.
Our highly skilled and caring staff are dedicated to ensuring that those we serve receive the most effective therapeutic services available. Treatments include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medical detox
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- Group support
- Substance abuse education
- Art and music therapy
- Health and wellness education
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events and activities
We aim to help those who need it most get started on the path to a substance-free life and foster the long-lasting health and wellness they deserve!