The Rise and Fall of Synthetic Marijuana, AKA Spice

Synthetic marijuana (often called K2 or Spice) is not marijuana at all. It is a lab created chemical that tries to replicate the effect of smoking marijuana on the body.  It is most often infused into incense or inert herbs that could then be smoked in a joint or bong like marijuana flower. For a period of four years between 2008 and 2012 it was possible to purchase it freely online or in convenience stores. With ID, or age requirements less strict than with other intoxicating substances,  it made the drug very popular with high schoolers. It promised a non-toxic, stable psychoactive experience similar to marijuana – a nice happy, relaxed high. What it actually gave its user was a terrifyingly different experience.

The Complicated Truth About Spice

Due to the lack of regulation and oversight in the manufacture of synthetic marijuana, there were a wide range of toxic substances found within the Spice. Drugs like Fentanyl, a highly addictive and dangerous opioid were cut into Spice ultimately resulted in over 10,000 emergency room visits in one year alone!

What Are The Side Effects of a Toxic Spice Trip?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to focus
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Catatonia

The strength of the drug was inconsistent, occasionally having a much higher potency than that of the standard THC. This resulted in several individuals being hospitalized for catatonia that lasted for several hours. On the opposite side of the spectrum were reports of extreme paranoia, and overwhelming hallucinations. This period does illuminate a pattern of behavior that we can learn from. Young adults are willing to go to incredible lengths to chase a high, even if there are potentially dreadful consequences. Synthetic marijuana usage may have outlawed but the drug creators will always be one step ahead of drug laws. That’s why it is crucial to have open lines of communication with young adults with a propensity towards drugs, in order to bring that need into the light where it can be examined instead of urging them to hide their complicated feelings.


How Can I Get Help?

Are you, or a young adult you know between the ages of 18 – 26 and struggling with drug or alcohol chemical dependency? FHE Health offers a special Young Adults Program because we are dedicated to a more specialized and personal care. Psychiatric services are available on site for those in our our Young Adult rehab and detox in South Florida.


Call (844) 299-0618 today to learn more about options for affordable rehab in Florida.



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