Spice and K2 are synthetic psychoactive drugs that generally consist of chemicals sprayed onto some type of plant material that is suitable for smoking. K2 is also found in liquid form, so it can be inhaled using vaporizers and e-cigarettes.
Although these substances are commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana, they are nothing like marijuana from a chemical perspective and are, in fact, far more risky and dangerous to use. A Spice/K2 user is much more likely to encounter severe adverse effects than a person who smokes natural cannabis, and these may include psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and paranoia.
Until recent years, K2 was not a controlled substance, meaning it was easy to obtain with little fear of legal ramifications. However, today many of the chemicals typically found in K2 have been classified as schedule I substances, meaning they have no medical purpose and a high potential for abuse and addiction.
Still, there are hundreds of brands of synthetic marijuana on the market, and they can easily be purchased online. Furthermore, drug makers are apt at evading the law by continually altering the chemical compounds in the drug, which may lead to more unpredictable and hazardous mixtures that can result in an overdose.
Drugs like K2 are often touted as a safe alternative to marijuana. However, this is far from being the case.
Packaging often advises that K2 is “not for human consumption,” but users ignore this warning, knowing it is only there to exploit a loophole in substance regulation.
There is a lot of misleading advertising regarding synthetic marijuana, as labeling will often indicate that the packages contain natural material. And while this is true, K2 effects are entirely related to the chemicals that have sprayed onto the dried plant materials. False information is a serious issue regarding these drugs. Because they are relatively new, people, in general, are not as educated on K2 as they may be on traditional illegal substances.
Spice and K2 Effects
K2 binds to the same brain receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. For this reason, the drug is commonly referenced as synthetic marijuana. However, K2’s effects on the brain can be more intense than those of its natural counterpart, making the drug more unpredictable and risky to use.
Some of the reported desirable effects of synthetic cannabinoids include improved mood, altered perceptions, and relaxation. However, these are not the only effects that can occur, as users also commonly report experiencing the following psychotic effects:
- Profound anxiety or paranoia
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that K2 remains in a person’s system for a prolonged period, and the long-term effects of drugs such as this are still not fully known. People who have used K2, however, have exhibited more severe short-term symptoms than mentioned above and have gone to an ER related to serious problems, including the following:
- Violent behavior
- Rapid heart rate
- Suicidal tendencies
- Repeated vomiting
Moreover, while some effects of K2 are comparable to those of marijuana, many do not simulate marijuana use at all. Such effects can lead to risky behavior, and people under its influence may put themselves in dangerous situations. Like all synthetic drugs, users don’t always know what they are ingesting when they use substances such as these.
Synthetic cannabinoids have been found to be up to 100 times more potent than marijuana and highly addictive, which can result in withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use. Withdrawal from these substances has been associated with the following:
- Impaired concentration
- Tremors and shakiness
- Sleep disturbances
- Severe drug cravings
Withdrawal is an especially unstable time for a person with a physical dependence on a substance, and relapse is an imminent possibility, so medical supervision is highly recommended.
Getting Help for Drug Abuse
With the widespread legalization of marijuana, it would seem that more dangerous, synthetic drugs such as Spice/K2 would be waning in popularity. Unfortunately, this is not the case, especially among teenagers and young adults. What’s more, Spice/K2 is actually much more addictive than marijuana, so users may, therefore, be more likely to benefit from professional, intensive treatment.
At Midwood Addiction Treatment center, we focus on treating the individual and their unique needs instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. We understand that no two people face the same challenges in sobriety and mental health, and our objective is to go the extra mile for each client and help them foster happy and fulfilling lives.
If you are ready to take the first step toward a life of sobriety, and wellness, contact us today! We can help you reclaim your life, free from the abuse of drugs and alcohol, one day at a time!