Spice Addiction

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"Spice" is the name of synthetic cannabinoids often sold under the guise of herbal incense or potpourri [1]. They are made of dried plants sprayed with a fake version of the compound found in marijuana (cannabinoid) and act on the same receptors on the brain as marijuana. Spice is often called "synthetic marijuana." Some other names for it are K2, Blaze, Crazy Clown, Ninja, Black Magic, Scooby Snax, RedX Dawn, Fire, Paradise, Yucatan, Spike, Mr.Nice Guy, Moon Rocks and Skunk. Ingesting spice can lead to a spice addiction.

Fake cannabinoids are a group of human-made substances that, although they all look different from each other, work similarly to the active part of cannabis called THC. These substances mainly affect the brain by producing feelings of euphoria, relaxation, altered perception, and other psychoactive effects.

Since Spice appeared on the market at the beginning of the century, it has become quite popular. Many people mistakenly think that products like Spice and K2 are safe, harmless, and legal alternatives to marijuana. However, Spice is not safe, and many strains are illegal.

What Does Spice Look Like?

Spice is green or brown and can look like tobacco, marijuana or a bunch of mixed herbs, similar to potpourri. It differs from cannabis because it isn’t sticky and doesn’t have little buds. Spice is usually packaged attractively in colorful foil with childlike designs (like smileys, superheroes and Scooby Doo). It can be obtained easily online, in gas stations or convenience stores. The packages are often labeled “not for human consumption” to protect manufacturers, distributors, and retailers from potential legal repercussions.

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What Does Spice Smell Like?

Spice has a strong fish-like aroma that remains on one’s clothing for a long time. The most obvious indicator of Spice usage is a change in a person’s behavior. They might exhibit heightened irritability, paranoia, or aggression. This substance can also induce intense bouts of nausea, induce contemplation of self-harm, and lead to instances of acute psychosis. Spice addiction is common, and a person can quickly become addicted after a one-time use.

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What Are Spice Drug Effects?

Some of the effects of Spice abuse include:

  • Acute psychotic episodes
  • Dependency and withdrawal 
  • Intense hallucinations
  • Severe agitation
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Paranoid beliefs
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Passing out
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • High anxiety levels
  • Pallor
  • Numbness or tingling sensations


If you or a family member are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be a sign of Spice addiction. As with any addiction, reach out to us at Avenues so we can guide you on your journey to sobriety.

How Long Does Spice Last?

The effects of Spice can be felt immediately and sometimes last for days. While some drugs pass through the system quickly, Spice stays in the body for a very long time, as long as several months. 

What Are Some Spice Side Effects?

The  effects of Spice can include: 

  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Heart irregularities, including heart attack
  • Psychotic fits
  • Severe vomiting 
  • Stroke


What Are the Differences Between Spice vs Weed?

  • Spice Is Easier to Get Than Weed

Marijuana (weed) is not legal in every state, and in the states where it is legal, one must be old enough to buy it in a dispensary. In contrast, Spice can be purchased at gas stations, convenience stores and online.

  • Spice is Highly Addictive

While marijuana users may only eventually become dependent on marijuana, Spice users can easily become addicted after the first use. Because the ingredients in Spice are not regulated and often change, a person can’t tell which dosage they’re taking. On top of that, Spice can sometimes be laced with sleeping pills, cocaine, or even rat poisoning. It is very hard to know what you are actually consuming when you take Spice.

  • More People Die From Using Spice Than Weed

Although marijuana users are at risk for mental health problems, there have been no reported deaths from marijuana. However, there have been rising reports of deaths from Spice.

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What Are the Dangers of Spice?

  • Inconsistent Dosage 

Because the producers of Spice want to avoid legal implications, they will change the ingredients in Spice frequently, so the consumer doesn’t know how much of the drug they are taking. This can lead to the user taking high drug dosages without realizing it.

  • Deceptive Packaging

Because Spice is packaged in a juvenile manner and labeled as containing potpourri or herbal incense, one may have the impression that it is safe. However, it is highly addictive, with the potential for terrible side effects.

  • High Death Toll

Relative to the amount of users, Spice has a high death toll – and it is continually rising.

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What are Some Facts About Spice Addiction?

  1. Spice addiction can lead to cognitive decline.

  1. Parents of a Spice addict will have trouble finding drugs amongst their kid’s possessions because Spice looks like a bunch of dried herbs and is packaged as such.

  1. Around 80% of patients seeking emergency treatment for Spice are male.

  1. In 2015, there were 160 people hospitalized due to bad reactions from using Spice.

  1. In 2012, Spice was the 2nd most popular drug used by high school seniors (marijuana was first).

How Can I Treat a Spice Addiction?

Detoxification, often referred to as "detox," is the initial phase of treatment for substance addiction, including addiction to Spice. Detox is designed to help individuals safely and comfortably withdraw from the substance while managing withdrawal symptoms and preparing for further treatment.

These are the steps for managing a Spice addiction:

1. Assessment and Evaluation:

A medical and psychological assessment determines the individual's overall health, extent of addiction, co-occurring mental health issues, and medical history. The assessment helps healthcare professionals create a personalized detox plan tailored to the individual's needs.

2. Medical Supervision:

Detox from Spice can lead to withdrawal symptoms that may be uncomfortable or even dangerous. Medical supervision is essential to monitor and manage these symptoms. A medical team, including doctors and nurses, will provide around-the-clock care to ensure the individual's safety.

3. Gradual Tapering:

In some cases, a gradual tapering of the synthetic cannabinoid may be recommended to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This involves reducing the dosage of Spice over time until the individual is substance-free. Tapering should only be done under medical supervision to prevent complications.

4. Medication Support:

Certain medications may be used to alleviate specific withdrawal symptoms and cravings during the detox process. For example, anti-anxiety medications or sleep aids may be prescribed to help manage anxiety and insomnia.

5. Nutritional Support:

Proper nutrition is important during detox to support the body's healing process. Nutritional supplements may be provided to address any deficiencies.

6. Hydration:

Staying hydrated is crucial to help flush toxins out of the body. Individuals in detox are encouraged to drink water and other fluids under medical guidance.

7. Psychological Support:

Detox can be emotionally challenging. Mental health professionals may provide counseling and emotional support to help individuals cope with mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

8. Holistic Therapies:

Some detox programs incorporate holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage to promote relaxation and stress reduction.

9. Monitoring and Adjustment:

The detox process is closely monitored, and the treatment plan may be adjusted based on the individual's progress and any emerging medical or psychological concerns.

10. Transition to Ongoing Treatment:

Detox is only the first step in the recovery process. Once detox is completed, individuals are encouraged to continue with a comprehensive addiction treatment program, such as residential or outpatient rehabilitation. Ongoing therapy, counseling, support groups, and other interventions are crucial for addressing the underlying causes of addiction and developing coping strategies to maintain sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with Spice addiction, reach out to us at Avenues so that our experienced addiction counselors can guide and support you on your path to sobriety.

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