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Spice/K2 (Synthetic Marijuana) Treatment Centers

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What is Spice/K2?

  • Description of Spice/K2?

    Synthetic marijuana, which is known commonly by the names “Spice” or “K2” was first produced in the U.S. in 2008. Synthetic marijuana is a complex designer drug made from liquid chemicals synthesized in labs. Spice is intended to replicate the effects of the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which can be found naturally in marijuana plant. The liquid chemicals are then sprayed over herbs, incense or other leafy materials intended to be burnt and inhaled. It was commonly promoted and sold as an incense that came in bright colorful packets and were labeled as not for human consumption in order to skirt drug laws. Spice or K2 has become widely popular among high school students and young adults because they were able to obtain it legally from smoke shops, convenience stores, and online stores until the production and sale of synthetic cannabinoids, including Spice, were national banned in the U.S. in July 2012.

  • What is the Scientific Name of Spice/K2?

    Synthetic Cannabis/Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • What is the Chemical Formula of Spice/K2?

    Psychoactive Artificial Cannabinoids Sprayed on Herbs
    • (C22H36O2) Cannabicyclohexanol
    • (C24H23NO ) JWH-018
    • (C23H21NO )JWH-073
    • (C25H38O3) HU-210

What is the Origin of Spice/K2?

John Huffman is credited as being the creator of the first synthetic marijuana, though he never intended to invent the drug. Huffman, an organic chemistry professor at Clemson University, and his research team were provided a grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to research a class of chemicals referred to as cannabinoids, which bind to the same receptors in the brain as the THC found in marijuana. In 1995, Huffman’s students were able to produce a one hundred milligram sample of a synthetic cannabinoid they labeled as JWH-018. This sample was used in tests on laboratory mice, but after documentation was complete, the sample and the finders were forgotten by Huffman and his students. A couple of years later JWH-018 reappeared as an ingredient in Spice, a mixture that when smoked produced the same effects marijuana, but allowed a user to get high and still pass a drug test.

Spice/K2 is a Schedule I Drug and is illegal in all forms.

What are the Common Street Names of Spice/K2?

  • Algerian Blend
  • Black Mamba
  • Blaze
  • Bliss
  • Bombay Blue
  • Chill X
  • Fake Marijuana
  • Fake Weed
  • Genie
  • Godfather
  • Incense
  • K2
  • King Krypto
  • Kronic
  • Lightning Gold
  • Lightning Red
  • Mojo
  • Moon Rocks
  • Northern Lights
  • Puff
  • Sense
  • Skunk
  • Sleep Walker
  • Spice
  • Spice Gold
  • Spice Silver
  • Tribal Warrior
  • Ultra Chronic
  • Voodoo Spice
  • Yucatan Fire
  • Zohai

How is Spice/K2 Used?

Synthetic marijuana such as Spice can be taken or ingested in methods similar to natural cannabis, such as smoking it in a joint, pipe or bong, or combining it with tobacco or natural marijuana. Spice can also be made into edibles by baking it into brownies, cookies, or other foods, or by making it into a tea.

How Long Does Spice/K2 Stay in Your System?

Cannabinoids, the chemicals found in Spice, are chemically related to THC and mimic the effects of THC but are often much more powerful, sometimes up to 10 times stronger. When smoked, Spice absorbs into the bloodstream rapidly so that the peak of the high is reached relatively quickly, usually between 10 to 45 minutes.

For the most part, synthetic cannabinoids have a longer half-life and thus a longer duration of effect than THC, however it can vary depending on the type of cannabinoid chemicals present in the Spice formula. Some reports have indicated that the effects of spice can last for days or even weeks at a time.

Detectable levels of in the body also vary by use, but usually Spice can usually be detected in the body for about 24 hours after use depending on chemical makeup and method of administration. A promising new urine test that screens for JWH-073 and JWH-018 allow both of these compounds to be detected up to 72 hours after use.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Short-Term Spice/K2 Use?

  • What are the Short-Term Effects of Spice/K2 Use on the Body?

    • Acute Kidney Injury
    • Chest Pain
    • Delusion
    • Dysphasia
    • Hallucination
    • Increased Blood Pressure
    • Increased Heart Rate
    • Pale Skin
    • Palpitation
    • Profuse Sweating
    • Seizures
    • Stroke
    • Uncontrolled or Spastic Body Movements
    • Vomiting
  • What are the Short-Term Effects of Spice/K2 Use on Behavior?

    • Aggression
    • Increased Agitation
    • Psychosis
    • Severe Paranoia
    • Violent Behavior

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Long-Term Spice/K2 Addiction?

  • What are the Long-Term Effects of Spice/K2 Use on the Body?

    • Breathing Problems
    • Kidney Failure
  • What are the Long-Term Effects of Spice/K2 Use on Behavior?

    • Delusional Beliefs
    • Disorganization
    • Paranoia
    • Predominantly Agitation
    • Psychotic Episodes
    • Schizophrenia

How to diagnose if you are Addicted to Spice/K2?

Common signs that indicate Spice addiction.

  • Being Unable to Cut Down on or Stop using Spice
  • Building a Tolerance to the effects of Spice
  • Continuing to use Spice, regardless of Negative Consequences to Health or Well-Being
  • Experiencing Uncomfortable Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Neglecting other Interests or Responsibilities
  • Problems at Work, Home or School caused by Spice
  • Spending significant amounts of time and money on Spice
  • Uncontrollable cravings or urges

What are the Withdrawal Effects of Spice/K2?

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Feeling of Desperation
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Palpitation
  • Panic Attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

How is Spice/K2 Addiction Treated?

Spice addiction needs to be treated for both physical and psychological dependence. A detox program will be needed to break the physical dependence and allow remain amounts of the drug to be cleansed from the body. Since most of the withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable but not dangerous, most patients would benefit from a social detox program. After detox, an addict should immediately enter a rehab program for support and help to break the psychological dependence. Many different therapies, such as family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, and behavioral therapy can be used to address the problems and habits that lead to the addiction. Each therapy seeks to encourage the addict to maintain their sobriety and freedom from Spice, and to develop new positive behaviors and habits. The final step is to join aftercare programs or addiction support groups that provide a safe place for addicts to get additional help through educational discussions, group sessions, and the sharing of personal experience. Support groups can be vital for preventing a relapse after the completion of a rehabilitation program.

What is the Extent of Spice/K2 Use?

Even though Spice has not been made illegal due to a federal ban, it has grown to be the second most abused drug by 12th graders according to a report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also reports that in 2012 male 12th graders were two times likely to use synthetic marijuana as their female counterparts. There is also great cause for concern regarding Spice overdoses as shown by many recent reports. In the first six months of 2014 alone, poison centers across the US received almost 800 cases of overdose or near overdose caused by synthetic marijuana. In March of 2014, more than a hundred people were treated for overdoses of this drug in a mere two weeks in Louisiana. Additionally, over a five day stretch in May of 2014, 120 people all across Texas overdosed on synthetic marijuana.

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