Spice and K2 are synthetic intoxicating drugs that typically consist of various chemicals sprayed onto plant material that can be used for smoking. K2 is also found in liquid form and, as such, can be inhaled through vaporizers and e-cigarettes.
Although these drugs are commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana, they are nothing like marijuana from a chemical perspective. In fact, they are far riskier to use, and a person who uses Spice/K2 is much more likely to experience severe adverse effects than an individual who smokes natural cannabis. These may include psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and paranoia.
Legality of Spice
Until recent years, Spice/K2 were not controlled substances, meaning they were easy to obtain with little fear of legal consequences. However, today many of the chemicals commonly found in these drugs have been classified as Schedule I substances, meaning they are considered to have no medical purpose and a relatively high potential for abuse and addiction.
Still, there are literally hundreds of brands of synthetic marijuana on the market, and many can be readily purchased online. Furthermore, drugmakers often attempt to circumvent the law by continually altering the drug’s chemical compounds, leading to more unpredictable and hazardous combinations resulting in an overdose.
Drugs such as Spice are sometimes lauded as a safe alternative to marijuana, but this is far from being the case. Packaging typically advises that K2 is “not for human consumption,” but users, naturally, ignore this warning, knowing it is only there to take advantage of a loophole in drug regulation.
There is also a lot of misleading advertising regarding synthetic marijuana, as labeling will often indicate that the packages merely contain natural material. And while this is true to an extent, K2 effects are wholly related to the chemicals sprayed onto dried plants.
False information is exceptionally problematic regarding these drugs. Because they are relatively new, people are often not as educated on Spice/K2 as they may be regarding traditional illicit substances.
Spice and K2 Effects
K2 and Spice attach to the same brain receptors as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. For this reason, the drug is commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana. However, K2’s effects on the brain can be more intense and unpredictable than its more natural equivalent, making the drug more unpredictable and risky to use.
Some of the reported desirable effects of synthetic cannabinoids include improved mood, altered perceptions, and relaxation. However, these are not the only effects that can occur, as users also commonly report experiencing psychotic symptoms, such as confusion, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that drugs such as K2 can remain in a person’s system for an extended period, and the long-term effects of drugs such as this are still not fully known. However, individuals who have used K2 have exhibited more severe short-term symptoms than mentioned above and have gone to an ER related to severe problems, including violent behavior, accelerated heart rate, suicidal ideations, and excessive vomiting.
Moreover, while some effects of K2 and similar synthetic substances are comparable to those of marijuana, many do not mimic marijuana use at all. Their effects can lead to risky and impulsive behavior, and persons under its influence may put themselves in hazardous situations. Like all illicit drugs, users don’t always know what they are ingesting when exposed to substances such as these.
Synthetic cannabinoids are up to 100 times stronger than marijuana and highly addictive, resulting in withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. Withdrawal from these substances has been linked to the following:
- Impaired concentration
- Tremors and shakiness
- Sleep disturbances
- Severe drug cravings
Withdrawal is a volatile time for a person with a physical dependence on a substance, and relapse is imminent, so medical supervision is highly recommended.
Getting Help for Drug Abuse and Addiction
With the widespread decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, it would seem that more dangerous, synthetic substances, such as Spice, would be waning in popularity. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case, especially for teenagers and young adults. What’s more, Spice is much more addictive than marijuana, so users may, therefore, be more likely to benefit from a comprehensive long-term treatment program.
At Just Believe Recovery Center, we focus on treating the individual and their unique needs instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. We understand that no two individuals face the same challenges related to addiction and mental health. Our mission is to go the extra mile for each person we treat and help them foster happier and more fulfilling lives.