K2 or Spice is synthetic marijuana that consists of a plant material mixture that is then sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids, similar to THC. The chemical makeup of synthetic cannabinoids is often very erratic and can cause severe side effects as a result.
Although synthetic weed is often marketed as being a safe and legal alternative to illegal marijuana, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that their effects may be typically unpredictable, much more powerful, and even life-threatening in some cases.
There is not enough research on the effects of synthetic marijuana on the human brain, but researchers do know that synthetic cannabinoids do create a stronger effect than natural marijuana, and users could be at increased risk as a result. In fact, the DEA banned 18 different synthetic cannabinoid compounds used in K2 or Spice because they have no medical benefit and are very likely to be abused.
Synthetic marijuana often looks like potpourri and contains dried plant materials. Oftentimes the drug will be packaged in foil packages marketed as “incense” or “fake weed” or packaged in liquid form in a plastic bottle. K2 and Spice are two common brand names, but today hundreds of other brand names exist, including Black Mamba, Kronic, and Kush, among many others.
To use K2 or Spice, most people smoke it in joints, pipes, or prepare it in an herbal tea. Some users may also mix it with marijuana or purchase a liquid form of it and smoke it with e-cigarettes.
Synthetic Marijuana Abuse
Spice is the second most commonly abused illegal substance among high schoolers, with the most common being marijuana. According to 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey, 11 percent of American high school senior students used synthetic marijuana during the past year. In addition, 11,406 emergency room visits in 2010 were associated with synthetic marijuana, 75 percent of which were among adolescents and young adults ages 12-29. The majority of these ER visits involved males (77.5 percent).
Synthetic weed doesn’t show up on most drug tests, making it an attractive option for those seeking to use drugs without getting caught.
Many people who abuse K2/Spice may not realize how injurious it is because the packaging can be very misleading. But under federal law, it is illegal to buy, distribute, sell, and possess synthetic marijuana. While law enforcement continually tries to regulate the ingredients used to make this drug, manufacturers quickly alter the chemical structure of synthetic marijuana to outpace law enforcement and continue selling it.
K2Spice Detox and Withdrawal
K2 detox is a very important part of recovery from K2 or Spice addiction. Before an individual can overcome their addiction to synthetic marijuana, they must first achieve a state of sobriety. This can be very challenging, as the physical effects of synthetic marijuana withdrawal are often very uncomfortable.
Common symptoms of synthetic weed withdrawal include:
- Intense cravings
A medically assisted spice detox program can help individuals who are detoxing from synthetic marijuana manage their uncomfortable K2 withdrawal symptoms so they can achieve a stable and sober state.
Medically assisted drug detoxification also incorporates individual and group therapy to address the psychological effects of withdrawal and helps prepare patients for entry into a long-term treatment program that utilizes behavioral therapy to combat addiction.
K2Spice Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline for Spice withdrawal will vary based on a number of factors, including:
- What type of synthetic cannabinoid was used
- The frequency and dose of each use
- The method of use
- Co-occurring mental disorders
- Co-occurring alcohol and drug addictions
There is limited research on synthetic marijuana detox, but researchers do know that withdrawal symptoms may begin as quickly as 15 minutes after the last dose. In some cases, patients may not experience withdrawal symptoms for 1-3 days after the last dose.
Synthetic weed withdrawal is a very individualized process and, therefore, should always take place in a medically monitored environment.
Long-Term Rehab for K2/Spice Addiction
After detox, many individuals choose to continue their addiction treatment in an inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program. According to the NIDA, long-term treatment of 90 days or longer is associated with long term recovery outcomes, so a 30 or 60-day program is less likely to result in long-term or lifelong sobriety.
An inpatient drug rehabilitation center provides a comfortable, safe, and supportive environment in which patients can remain sober while gaining the tools and skills they need to live sober on their own.
People in drug rehabilitation work with clinical counselors and other addiction treatment experts to develop and practice effective coping strategies to prevent future relapse and to learn how to cope with the stressors of everyday life without resorting to drug abuse. Rehabilitation programs consist of individual and group therapy sessions, specialized behavioral therapy interventions, and evidence-based therapies such as 12-step facilitation therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, among many others.
Although long-term inpatient rehabilitation programs take place in a home-like setting, outpatient drug rehab programs consist of a series of group therapies facilitated by a licensed counselor. Groups meet in a safe, clinical setting several times a week.
The cost of addiction treatment programs varies based on the type of program, the method of payment, and the duration of treatment.