Recently a drug on the market called “spice” has been taking over the lives of adolescents and adults alike. It looks a lot like its name suggest, but it’s far more dangerous than the sage and basil you might find in your pantry. Spice, also referred to as “K2” or “potpourri,” is a synthetic chemical compound designed to mimic the effects of the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in marijuana.
Is Spice Like Marijuana?
Yes and no. Spice is designed to look like marijuana, but its effects are speculated to be more harmful. Made of dried leaves of various plants and fertilizer, spice does indeed appear to have some resemblance to dried marijuana leaves. However, the drug is estimated to be five times more powerful than marijuana. Users typically smoke the substance through a pipe or rolled up as a joint. In about three to five minutes, a person will begin to experience the side effects, which can last up to eight hours. Many of the side effects are similar to those associated with marijuana use: relaxation, altered perception of reality or self, and elevated mood. Other more serious and potentially unpredictable side effects can include:
- Bizarre behaviors
- Violent behavior
- Heart attack
Is Spice Safe to Use?
Spice comes in tiny colorful packages, marked as “incense” and marketed as “safe,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Unfortunately, spice is anything but safe. The drug has been responsible for a number of hospital emergency room visits in the recent past. News network CBS of Los Angeles reported that the American Association of Poison Control Centers recorded 659 hospital visits due to synthetic marijuana within the first three months of 2013.
Spice and Its Addictive Potential
Experiences from past users have shown that spice is indeed addictive. The more you use the drug, the more you want to use it. Tolerance builds up quickly and addiction can develop from even short-term continual use. A study highlighted in the German research journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International showcased a young adult who used spice over an eight-month period. After he discontinued use, withdrawal symptoms began to manifest causing him “internal unrest,” nausea, tremors and nightmares. Other news outlets have also mentioned spice’s addictive potential. Another young adult shared his personal story of using spice on NBC back in 2012. He was quoted as saying that he thought he was going to die but kept using it. He’d wake up in the morning and want to use spice and throughout the day became preoccupied with taking the drug. Unfortunately, he lost his job and memory, but thankfully, he did not lose his life.
Getting Help at Futures
Addiction is a serious illness that should be handled by a medical professional. Particularly when spice is concerned, the colorful innocent-looking packaging can prompt curious adolescents and young adults into using it because it’s “legal” without realizing the dangers. If you are, or someone you know is, addicted to spice or any other designer drug, consider calling Futures of Palm Beach today. We have a knowledgeable and compassionate team who can help you deal with addiction in a safe way. When you’re ready, make that call and we’ll be here to help.