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Side Effects Of Spice Use

What Are The Side Effects of Using Spice or K2?

Well, it depends.

The side effects from smoking synthetic marijuana can be the same – or far more dangerous – than those of real weed.

Man wigging out on K2 runs in front of traffic

The side effects you experience depend on which of the many different synthetic cannabinoids you put into your body, how much you used and how you ingested it.

Reports indicate the pleasant side effects of Spice are similar to marijuana, but more intense. These include elevated mood, relaxation and altered perception.

However, many users of synthetic cannabinoids, poison control centers and emergency rooms report far less pleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects are common. These include:

  • psychotic episodes
  • paranoia, increased anxiety and hallucinations – typically much more severe than after smoking marijuana.
  • increased heart rate
  • agitation
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • uncontrollable body movements
  • lack of emotional attachment
  • sweating and loss of control
  • red eyes
  • dry mouth.

One side effect not shared with natural marijuana is increased hunger. Most herbal incense users report a lack of appetite when using the drug. Some lose 20 or 30 pounds while using spice, then lose even more when they withdraw.

Like many others, I didn’t eat anything for days after I quit.

Is Spice Addictive?

Another side effect not shared with marijuana:  Synthetic cannabinoids can be highly addictive.

Because the drug is sold as a “legal alternative to marijuana”, many people assume there is no risk of addiction to spice.

This is not the case.

Anyone can get physically addicted to synthetic cannabinoids in just a few weeks of regular use.

Some first time users may find that the intensity of the K2 side effects, particularly the negative side effects such as hallucinations, are enough to stop them from trying the drug again.

But others crave the intensity of the Spice high as much as one would from hardcore drugs like heroin, crack, and pain killers.

In fact, this comparison of spice to heroin, meth and crack addiction is common among spice users who’ve submitted their personal stories to this site.

Spice Withdrawals

One of the tell-tale signs of drug addiction is withdrawal symptoms.

When long-term Spice / K2 users attempt to quit, serious withdrawal symptoms often occur, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney failure or damage
  • Extreme Sweating
  • Inability to sleep
  • Intense cravings
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Inability to care about consequences

On this site, hundreds of people have posted first-hand accounts of truly nasty withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxing your body from Spice typically takes a week or more, but the side effects may last much longer.

Some ex-addicts crave the drug for years after quittingRelapse is common with spice addiction, too

It’s Not Really That Bad – Is It?

Actually, the side effects of smoking Spice or vaping K2 can be really bad.

In fact, smoking Spice has been fatal in some cases. Death can be quick – for example, after smoking just once – or it may occur after many experiences with the drug.

Spice, K2 and related legal highs have also been implicated in cases of kidney failure and heart attacks. Spice causes reduced blood flow to the heart, also known as myocardial ischemia, which can cause damage to the heart or a heart attack.

Mental health problems are commonly reported by spice users. Testimonials from both regular users and those who used it only one time – commonly mention hallucinations, suicidal and homicidal thoughts and actions, intense fear and paranoia. There are several cases where synthetic weed has been implicated in deaths from suicide or accidental means.

There have also been reports of long term damage to mental health, with continuing hallucinations appearing after several months of trying the drug.

Over 700 Synthetic Cannabinoids – And Counting

THC vs the major classes of synthetic cannabinoids

Today, there are over 700 known variants of synthetic cannabinoids. New molecules are being produced every month.

No one knows exactly how many of these have made it to the street. You may know which one you just smoked, either.

This is why herbal incense side effects vary greatly from package to package, even for the same brand from month to month.

Smoking Spice or K2 from one package may produce a mellow and pleasant effect, while smoking from another package of the same brand might produce intense paranoia and hallucinations – even in the seasoned smoker.

This wide variation in side effects is likely caused by the ‘skirting’ of drug laws by manufacturers of Spice. As one chemical compound sold as Spice or K2 becomes illegal, the makers replace it with another ‘legal’ substance capable of the same physical effects, but slightly different in its chemical makeup.

Another explanation for widely-varying side effects is the crude manner in which these drugs are produced.

One of the largest companies in the synthetic marijuana industry, Mr Nice Guy, was reportedly using cement mixers and nail polish remover to produce their herbal incense. This causes what are known as ‘hot-spots” where the synthetic cannabinoids are much stronger in one area than another in the same package.

While Spice is currently considered a ‘legal’ high in some areas of the world, it is wise to be aware of the side effects and risks of smoking incense – both positive and negative – in making the decision to abstain from or smoke Spice, K2 or any of its ‘herbal incense’ type derivatives.

Many countries, states and counties have made synthetic marijuana illegal due to its side effects – including here in the US. Only a few synthetic cannabinoids are named as a controlled substance by the DEA (US federal government).

Being aware of the risks is the best way to keep yourself safe.

View Comments

  • I know people here have said that you shouldn't smoke weed for a while after getting off spice. Has anyone done that and did it re-trigger the spice withdrawal? I'd like to hear from personal experience if possible, not second hand accounts. Weed is a godsend for insomniacs!

      • I'm nt criticizing no one, but if you are going to put God in it, I want you to know the truth. He (God) did not planted the weed their for you to smoke it, the devil planted that weed so you can sin.

        • It sounds to me like you are criticizing a simple comment. This board is for addiction. And not to preach God, I suggest you go to other boards where your comments are wanted and not criticizing people asking for help, which is God's way.

    • Weed is a godsend sometimes and yes it does trigger the need keep in mind u may not be able to get high with weed for awhile spice kills it for u . but i have a feeling u may need to try it yourself to find out . remember we're always here

  • I smoked only the strongest blends of spice available, and I even had access directly to different strands of the 'jwh' in powder form to create my own blends or just sprinkle on a bowl kind of like kief. I was an everyday smoker from 2009 until 2013 with a couple short breaks here and there, maybe a day or two once or twice. I was about a year out of rehab for addiction and had just gotten married. Every bad story i hear about the withdrawal reminds me of what I also went through. Its easy to justify trying it once, and yes, the first time I tried, I actually said outloud, "ohh boy, here we go......" because i knew what was up. Didn't matter. Smoking pot to try and curve the withdrawl wont necessarily hurt, but it doesn't help. I had to smoke like an 8th of bud to even catch a short term feeling of relief, and u cough like ur gunna die so it makes it difficult to say the least. Once I finally quit, and I could take a REAL honest look at who Id become, I knew I wouldnt touch it again. However, Ive never been the same. Very hard to explain, but to be short, I became suicidal in my thoughts and I hid that for a long time. Through an act of God I was given access to medical grade bud thats now legal in a lot of states, and it has helped tremendously. I had no idea my fear of "relapsing" prevented me from smoking pot but pushed me into a dance with the devil through the justification of spice. Ive never had a moment I am ashamed of that was influenced or caused by pot. However, spice , and salts, gave me more shameful moments and regrets than i thought id ever have in a lifetime. To this day, I too have a stutter I never had before. I struggle to discuss my emotions and/or deal with them ESPECIALLY if im free of pot or all "drugs" whatsoever. Ive been told by my own mother that I have severe mood swings, that I dont even notice at times. But I have moments where I do see it and feel it. At 20 years old before spice I was able to navigate my words thoughts and actions better than I can at 29. To be clear, Im not talking "maturity". Im talking psychologically. Im a single full time dad, Im starting a Hot Sauce business, I function and work hard, but I notice big gaps in my mind and my reasoning, and after reading up on it after a couple years of believing Id get past certain things, I realize now, damage has taken place and Im not sure anymore about whether or not it will return. Reading, comprehension, public speaking, life outlook, emotional stability, level of focus, none of it has been the same since. But I thank God I didnt end my life, Im grateful for each day I have with my son. But Im not even sure Im not the main reason my ex went back to dope, left us, and still tries to make our life hell. I put her through a lot. I tell people I have never smoked crack, but I know what it is to be a dope fiend(the 'good', bad and ugly) thanks to spice. Dont be fooled, it's not pot. If ur looking for a similiar high look somewhere else or get over the stigma that man has put on an herb God created.

    • Bravo for you, well said i wish u would come back and update us on how your doing.

  • I started smoking this stuff to quit weed.....but I smoked a large amounts ...pounds of the stuff... kryptonite.. mr.nice guy bubble gum x4 .. black mamba ..space..it was in every gas station in town..@@@"diablo"!!!..it nearly killed me from a hot dose more than once. I smoked for about a year all different kinds.. I almost died several times.. I could not feel my body more than one occasion slapping myself to stay this side of reality driving next to the hospital in case I died....i had a mental breakdown when they outlawed the stuff a real psychological freak out.. I never stopped being high .. I believe I am on a endless trip "perma fried".pure fear comes over me... now I still fell like I am dieing 5 years later nothing helps ..can't sleep if I sleep I sleep for days .. the panic comes over me in my sleep wakes me .. constant flashbacks ..I am fried for life .. I do my best to act normal as possible but it is a nightmare that will not end .. smoking bud mellows me out but I am a walking zombie weed can trigger a flashback.. driving can trigger it.. one episode it was 20 degrees outside I smoked a hot dose mr.nice guy bubble gum ..i went running down the street to get to a place away from my house where I thought I could die and have people other than my family find my body..its been years since I smoked the stuff and I still am trapped inside my mind feeling like death can't focus my eyes .. people talking to me is not recognized can't focus thought .. I have been an addict for 29 years.. i still am addicted to pills and weed ..the pills give me the only relief they calm me.. make it less nightmarish ...but the synthetic weed is the worst evil man has gave to his fellow man... ..every day is now a struggle to focus my mind I know it's brain damage there is nothing I can do or take or quit to stop it.. I have tried everything quitting does not stop the symptoms. I go clean every few months for a few months..try to get well nothing helps not being a year clean .. I am free of the stuff now and I can't go out of my house .. ears ring spots float across my vision .. it's a battle to get up daily.. if you smoke this crap .. just know what you are in for ... it will kill you .. if not you will feel like death years later if you smoked as much as me.. and there is no cure.. I have spent thousands trying to detox my body I take lots of vitamins and supplements nothing reverses brain damage on this level... if there is a cure I would try it .. this hell is exceeding great...!!!!

    • apologies for not approving your message, earlier. It got stuck in Disqus' "cussword queue", and I took a few days off. - Bobby T. admin

  • I smoked to for a while about 6 years ago and I started having seizures and I still have them from time to time. Had I known this would damage me I would have never smoked it ...I now cannot work due to my seizures and the state is taking my drivers license away...this should be banned.

  • can someone recover from the psychotic effects of spice. My niece had been smoking this crap and had been doing other stuff as well. she's been clean for 5 weeks but her condition hasn't improved but has gotten worse. Now she is having really bad psychotic episodes and they said she might need to be in assisted living. She's only 18.

  • I I think I just read my last comment there is a place for families friends spouses girlfriends boyfriends to go and vent their comments about spice usage and addicts it's called Al-Anon. you don't come onto an addicts board and criticize them for their choices it isn't your choice. If you need support because somebody you like or love is doing spice, you want information I understand that .but go through the proper channels go to the right groups. Addicts and those reaching out for help need all the support they can get , not to read other people's criticism of it. it's the same as being an alcoholic you would not be welcome at AA meeting you would be told to go to an Al-Anon meeting AA is for addicts only why is this different because it's on the internet. Come on Common Sense here. you want information about the uses of spice the effects of spice the lasting effects research it online. Getting off of spice is one of the hardest things to do spice has a high level of relapse addicts need a place where they can vent and talk and share with other addicts not with my aunt is doing spice or I walked into a room I think I'm addicted to spice now they need solid support they need truths not gossip. Not half-truths I smoke spice one time and now I'm in a psychiatric hospital. my question on that is what else were you doing with the spice cuz you weren't doing just spice. I would love to say marijuana is the magic cured to get off spice but it's not it makes the withdrawals and the Cravings more intense. and I will be totally honest I have been clean for two years but the craving does not go away but the strength that I want is what keeps me away. I've relapsed twice both times I suffered for it but I'm human and I had the strength to walk away both times please think to yourself before you post. And I've also noticed a trend on here addicts don't really respond to family members or girlfriends or boyfriends. Bobby posts a lot of good information that can tell you the psychological effects of spice the withdrawals of spice I suggest you read that.

  • Weed does the same thing as k2, spice does. The side effects.. Vomiting, lose of appetite, depression, suicidal thoughts & ect. They both are not good for you. In the bible it says the enemy planted the bad weeds with the good weeds & God isn't please withe neither, weed nor spice (k2). They both are illegal, they both are killing you one way or another.

    • Did you read the whole verse... That's not what it means.. Yes it can be interpreted towards this BUT the verse is not against it..

  • Anyone know what the long term effects of smoking the stuff does?

    • Yes loss of appetite extreme sweating mentally feeling off.and anxiety.its hard to go back to normal eating habits.k2 is whack like crack! Stick to pot:)

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