Spice or K2, is a type of synthetic marijuana, a new drug introduced to the public alongside other synthetic drugs, attempting to overtake and outmaneuver drug legislation and evade proper laboratory testing. The drug was introduced to markets as a legal alternative to marijuana, creating an impression that is was a safer choice, despite labels on packaging quoting ‘not safe for human consumption’.
Manufacturers only enjoyed a short-lived period of legal creation and distribution of spice, but the drug’s popularity and demand remaining high. Furthermore, because of the relatively new status of the drug, there is not adequate research to be sure what the long-term effects of the drug are on psychological and physical functioning.
In 2012, then Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, filed an emergency rule outlawing 22 different synthetic drugs, including K2 and other types of synthetic cannabinoids. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has since banned the selling and distribution or the recreational use of spice.
However, what we do know about spice is that it is certainly not safer than marijuana and can affect the brain more severely. There have been reports of people going into ‘zombie’ like states and even dying as a result of adverse reactions to spice.
What is spice addiction?
Spice is just one type of synthetic marijuana that is now part of a group of substances known as ‘new psychoactive substances’ (NPS) which are unregulated psychoactive substances that attempt to mimic the ‘high’ from other illicit drugs.
A person would generally be considered to have an addiction to spice if they were to;
- Schedule their day either around spice or so that they would have enough time to use spice
- Think about spice disproportionately and feel panicky if they are unable to obtain or use spice
- Prioritize spice above commitments and responsibilities which were previously important
- Prefer using spice alone, replacing socializing, working or studying
What are the effects of the drug spice?
The similarity of the chemical compounds of spice to marijuana can enable the user to feel the same elevated mood and sense of relaxation. However, it can also cause severe anxiety, increased heart rate, sweating, paranoia and hallucinations which can be incredibly distressing.
Furthermore, spice can also cause the user to vomit, cause unpredictable, volatile and violent behavior, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Because the manufacturing process of spice will vary from batch to batch, it is impossible to fully know or trust what effect spice will have on a user, meaning each time it’s ingested will be a gamble and a serious risk to the users psychological and physical health.
Signs and symptoms of spice addiction
Effects of spice can range from mild, like headaches or confusion to extreme, such as seizures, or appearing catatonic. It is difficult to predict how spice use will affect a person, as it is created inconsistently with no regulation. However, there are some typical indicators that a person is struggling with their spice use; signs that the individual may require urgent professional support to help them stop. These include persistent:
- Anxiety, depression and mood swings
- Confusion, glazed expression, inability to communicate
- Paranoia, delusions, mistrust in people who were previous close confidants
- Impaired cognitive functions; inability to concentrate or keep track of thoughts or conversations
- Sweating, shaking, nausea and vomiting
- Incoherent or slurred speech
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss and lack of appetite
Treatment available for spice addiction
At Beachcomber, we understand how daunting the first step of recovery can be, so we are here to support you and your loved one through this difficult and confusing journey. All our practitioners are highly skilled and experienced in supporting those addicted to spice and other substances to move forward in their life towards a brighter, happier future. But, in order to achieve that, we require the addicted person to take responsibility for their addiction and their actions and be willing to explore underlying issues that may be contributing to the compulsion to use spice.
A full list of our services at Beachcomber includes:
- Inpatient Residential Treatment
- One-to-one Therapy
- Group therapy
- Family/couples therapy
- Rapid Resolution Therapy
- Outpatient Treatment
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- Acupuncture Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
- Meditation Therapy
- Light-Sound Neurotherapy