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K2/Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid that is included in a new drug class known as new psychoactive substances (NPS) – synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of different types of illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and others.

K2 and Spice are brand names of a type of unregulated synthetic cannabinoid that is intended to mimic the effects of marijuana (Cannabis sativa). Other common names of Spice include “Skunk,” “Paradise,” “Moon Rocks,” and “Yucatan Fire.” Synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 have grown in popularity in recent years in the U.S. Spice/K2 and other synthetic drugs have become widely available and easily purchased from tobacco or head shops, on the internet and in gas stations.

Known by different names, these synthetic drugs can be extremely dangerous and addictive and produce a wide range of physiological and psychiatric adverse effects that vary in duration and severity. Treated at both inpatient and outpatient facilities, a comprehensive Spice and K2 addiction treatment involves a medically-supervised K2/Spice detox treatment that is followed by counseling or therapy sessions.

Types of synthetic cannabinoids

K2/Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid that is sprayed onto a mixture of dried plant material and herbs (herbal incense). The herbal incense is made into tea, smoked or mixed with marijuana. The liquid form of Spice/K2 (liquid essence) is vaporized and inhaled by users using an electronic device such as an e-cigarette.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there are many synthetic cannabinoids that meet the definition of cannabimimetic agent under the Controlled Substances Act and are Schedule I substances. Many of these are sold as “incense” or “potpourri” to avoid being considered controlled substances.

Spice/K2 in the brain

Synthetic cannabinoids such as K2/Spice produce their effects by acting on the same endogenous (in the body) cannabinoid receptors as the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Similar to natural chemicals (cannabinoids) in the body, THC and synthetic cannabinoids slow down the communication between cells in the endocannabinoid system by activating cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors.

While THC is a partial agonist of CB1 receptors, synthetic cannabinoids are considered to be full agonists. Full agonists act on CB1 receptors, which means that Spice/K2 is much more potent than regular marijuana. At times, synthetic cannabinoids can be stronger than THC and can be up to 100 times as potent as THC in natural cannabis.

Are synthetic cannabinoids safe?

K2/Spice and other types of synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes referred to as “fake weed” or “fake marijuana.” Unlike “real” marijuana, K2/Spice is undetected by standard drug tests, a major reason for the increased prevalence of K2/Spice abuse in the United States.

Many young people have also started to use K2/Spice as a legal and “safe” alternative to illegal drugs, although the effects of synthetic cannabinoids can be more dangerous than those of regular marijuana. Some symptoms of K2 use can be unpredictable and even fatal.

K2 abuse: Side effects

Compared to regular marijuana, K2/Spice produces a wider range of physical and psychological effects and some of these effects are more harmful than regular marijuana, and, in some cases, can even be life-threatening.

Some effects of K2/Spice are similar to those produced by marijuana, including relaxation, an enhanced mood, and changes in a person’s perception or awareness of his or her surroundings. Following are some side effects of K2/Spice abuse.

  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Violent behavior
  • Paleness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

 Spice/K2 abuse: Health consequences

Extremely addictive in nature, Spice/K2 can cause health effects that can be life-threatening in nature. Following are some of the physical and psychological health effects of Spice/K2..

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Reduced blood supply to heart due to raised blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Severe anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks

K2/Spice: Addiction and withdrawal symptoms

Similar to regular marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids including K2/Spice can cause dependence, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms in regular users. Spice/K2 addiction, similar to addiction to marijuana and other synthetic cannabinoids, is referred to as a cannabis use disorder.

Researchers have found that chronic Spice/K2 abuse can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Following are some of the withdrawal symptoms of K2/Spice addiction.

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Irritability
  • Cravings
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings
  • Sweating
  • Chest pains
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Fast heart beat
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation

K2 and Spice addiction treatment

Similar to other powerful addictive substances, it is possible to become addicted to K2/Spice. Though overcoming addiction may not be easy, long-term K2/Spice users may encounter extreme withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop.

Overcoming K2/Spice addiction can be accompanied through medically supervised detoxification treatment that is followed by targeted behavioral therapies, counseling and other proven treatment options.

A medical intervention procedure, detoxification treatment works by clearing out the body of all the toxins or abused substances thereby helping an individual benefit from the substance addiction treatments offered. Post a successful detox program, patients should be enrolled in an addiction treatment program that continues to build on relapse prevention tools, coping mechanisms, healthy habits and much more.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

A leading addiction treatment provider, Sovereign Health provides all its patients with comprehensive, tailor-made, and evidence-based treatment designed to foster long-term care. Committed to providing each of our patient the best shot at recovery, we take a multidisciplinary approach and scientific-based treatment modalities to create customized addiction treatment programs to help each of our patient heal and assist them in their recovery.

A women-only rehab, Sovereign Health’s Chandler, Arizona, facility offers comprehensive Spice/K2 addiction treatment to women suffering from cannabis use disorder due to Spice or K2 addiction. In addition to traditional clinical approaches to treating addiction-related disorders, K2/Spice addiction treatment at our state-of-the-art treatment centers combine individual, group and family therapy along with our comprehensive evidence-based and complementary treatment options including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neurofeedback, experiential therapy and more. Basis a patient’s thorough medical, biopsychosocial and psychiatric pre-assessments, K2 addiction treatment is individualized or tailor-made to meet women’s specific needs and is designed to diagnose and treat all conditions that co-occur with Spice or K2 abuse.

For more information about the comprehensive treatment programs offered to women for cannabis use disorders, mental illnesses, and co-occurring disorders, please contact our 24/7 helpline to speak to a member of our admissions team. You can even chat online with our representative to locate the finest K2/Spice detox centers, near you.

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