Spice is a real, growing drug problem in the US today. Synthetic marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in high schools in the US. 1 out of 9 students admit trying it at some point during high school.
Very often, spice is used because it’s seen as a legal, safe, more powerful and less expensive alternative to marijuana. Spice merchants will usually tell you it’s non-addictive, like weed and has few side effects.
Problem is, they were either lying to you or just plain ignorant about the dangerous side effects caused by the chemicals they sell.
In fact, the active ingredients in synthetic weed include over 200 man-made chemicals called synthetic cannabinoids. These chemicals are poorly understood by medical professionals, especially hospital emergency room staff. The chemicals are sprayed over cheap plant material and sold using cool-sounding brand names like Spice, K2, Scooby Snax, Mojo, Cloud9 and Diablo.
Today, a more potent liquid form of K2 and spice is being used in e-cigs and hookah pipes to avoid the stigma of looking like a pot head.
The real problem with synthetic cannabinoids is that they are often highly addictive, a problem not normally associated with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Use of synthetic cannabinoids also carries side effects that can be dangerous or even deadly to new users.
The two main reasons most people want to end an addiction to spice are the nasty side effects and the big changes in personality that come with using this drug on a regular basis.
Side Effects From Using Synthetic Cannabinoids
Use of spice carries life-damaging side effects for many users, including the following:
- suicidal and homicidal thoughts
- intense fear and paranoia
- aggressive changes in personality
- psychotic breaks
- violent behavior.
It’s easy to understand why anyone would want to stop using Spice.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been using spice or K2 for weeks or months, then you may have a nasty surprise waiting for you when you try to quit.
If you’ve been using spice regularly and you try to quit, harsh withdrawal symptoms may appear that can make it difficult for you to function in the real world.
Many spice addicts report losing work for days or weeks due to the extreme, hangover-like effects of withdrawing from spice.
Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms shared on this site recently:
The most common spice and K2 withdrawal symptoms include:
- extreme nausea and diarrhea
- cold sweats
- insomnia that can last for days
- tremors, anxiety and restlessness.
Heart attacks are another, more dangerous, risk to users going through withdrawals.
The first withdrawal symptoms usually occur within the first few hours of ending drug use and typically persist for days or weeks.
The intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms depend on how long the person has been using, what specific cannabinoid they were using and the person’s own body chemistry. The medical reasons for these symptoms are not well-understood.
The primary way to relieve withdrawal symptoms is to use more spice. This is what causes the vicious cycle of addiction that ruins families, loses careers – and worse.
Due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, It is important for the user to have a strong support system during this time and to remain as physically strong as possible to reduce damage to his/her health.
Good hydration is also critical, due to the nausea and diarrhea that often accompany withdrawal.
Getting help from family and friends isn’t always a realistic option for a spice / K2 addict. For these patients, there are two main treatment options.
Option1: Local Support Groups
Joining a local Marijuana Anonymous (M.A.) support group in your area is a great first step to getting clean.
Some people in M.A. are addicted to spice in addition to having issues w/ marijuana. Marijuana Anonymous meetings are free to attend, and patients can visit meetings anytime they choose.
For family members trying to understand the harmful effects of synthetic marijuana, Marijuana Anonymous is a great place to start, too.
Newly recovering addicts may want to attend professional private therapy or rehab plus Marijuana Anonymous together, to improve the chances for success.
Option 2: Residential Treatment Centers
If you have insurance, checking in to a residential treatment center for spice or K2 addiction can be ideal. Many residential treatment centers today accept insurance for spice addiction recovery, and nearly all offer payment plans for patients.
At a residential treatment center, the counselors and staff are equipped with the knowledge and experience to help a person kick synthetic weed addiction for good. The patient needs to be ready for a drastic lifestyle change, but with constant monitoring, supervision and support, the journey becomes easier.
3 Steps To Permanent Recovery
There are three actions required by the user to achieve permanent recovery from spice addiction:
- counseling, and
When all three are done together, a patient has a much greater chance of successful recovery.
The detox process requires a strong support system who understands how to treat the symptoms of withdrawal.
Counseling helps the patient see how they were damaging their lives and the relationships around them when using spice.
Lastly, self-help is the key way to stay off drugs and continue a sober lifestyle well after treatment is over.
After you’ve detoxed and quit using the drug, in-person support groups like Marijuana Anonymous and online groups like this website can serve as a great sounding board that can help you stay on a clean and sober path, for the long term.