Wednesday January 17th 2018

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Spice long term effects

Synthetic cannabis is dangerous!

Spice is one of the most well-known brands of synthetic marijuana. It’s made from dried herbal mixtures and chemicals which produce marijuana-like effects. Although many like to view it as the ‘safer alternative’ to marijuana, the reality is Spice can be quite dangerous at the first try…and especially in the long run.

Ranging from physical to psychological, the side effects of Spice can seriously damage your health. Psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and abnormal heart issues are some possible effects. Some other side effects like seizures can even lead to permanent consequences. But, what are the long term effects of Spice?

In this article, we break down the possible long term effects of Spice. Then, we invite you to send us your questions through the comments section at the bottom of the page. We try to respond to all real life questions. So please reach out!

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Long term effects of Spice use

We are still not fully aware of all potential risks and long terms side effects that Spice can cause, mainly due to two reasons:

1. Spice is a relatively new drug. So, its long-term effects on humans have not been researched or scientifically recorded, due to the lack of time for longitudinal studies. Still, the reported effects of synthetic marijuana can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

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2. Spice is always chemically different. The drug is a combination of herbs and synthetic chemicals which are constantly changed by manufacturers. The reason this happens is because authorities have made it illegal to sell, buy, or possess some of the dangerous chemicals used in Spice, so manufacturers try to dodge possible legal problems by changing the chemical formulas in their mixtures.

What we know for certain is that the majority of Spice side effects can be far worse than those of real marijuana. There is a growing number of synthetic marijuana induced toxicity, but additional analysis is needed to determine how toxic it actually can be. Reports suggest that long term Spice users are likely to exhibit symptoms of withdrawal and addiction, and face an increased risk of heart attack.

Long term effects of Spice on the brain

The chemicals found in Spice and the THC found in marijuana have a tendency to attach to the same brain receptors. While both chemicals are considered cannabinoids and can produce similar mind altering effects. The difference is in their potency. The chemicals found in Spice (especially JWH-018) bind more strongly to cannabinoid receptors as opposed to THC. As a result they cause more potent, long lasting high, and more severe side effects.

In addition to mind altering effects, Spice can bring about psychological changes and make individuals behave in ways that are harmful for themselves and the environment. Most common adverse effects of Spice on the brain include:

  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • hallucinations
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • psychotic episodes
  • seizures
  • suicidal thoughts

Long term effects of Spice on the body

What are the long term effects of Spice on the body? There are a number of short-term side effects associated with Spice use that could be potentially dangerous in the long run. The most common of which may include:

  • chest pains
  • heart palpitations
  • hypertension
  • tachypnea (abnormally rapid breathing)
  • tachycardia

These effects usually vanish within a couple of hours as Spice effects diminish, and are not followed by any residual side effects. However, individuals with preexisting health conditions are at great risk of serious consequences. Even for healthy Spice users, long term exposure can lead to consequences such as heart attack.

Long term effects of Spice on a fetus

There is a lack of research to show how Spice use could affect a developing fetus. But, since marijuana and Spice have similar effects, it follows that there is possibility for children of Spice addicted parents to experience:

  • attention impairment
  • language difficulties
  • learning problems
  • behavioral issues

Still, there is a need for a thorough research in order to justify this claim.

Spice and Schizophrenia

Due to the fact that there are over 100 types of synthetic cannabinoid compounds available, it is almost impossible to determine how dangerous a batch of Spice can be. What’s more, it is still impossible to determine which active ingredients are present in a batch making it even more difficult to research or predict its harmful long term effects.

But if we look for clues with marijuana as it targets the same brain receptors, it could be speculated that Spice abuse could increase the chances for schizophrenia and psychosis and reduce certain brain functions.

Long term effects of Spice addiction

Due to the lack of research, it is hard to say how exactly Spice addiction can affect you in the long run. But, we may assume some predictable effects, considering the fact that most active chemicals often found in Spice are Schedule I substances. Plus, a German research study has suggested that synthetic marijuana use can lead to “withdrawal symptoms and addictive behaviors.”  For these reasons, it is safe to say that Spice has a high addictive potential.

Although many believe Spice use is less harmful than real marijuana, they are in significant danger when they try to quit Spice after using the drug chronically for a period of time. Spice withdrawal effects can be unpleasant and unpredictable, and unfortunately – fatal. Here are some signs and symptoms that chronic Spice users have reported during withdrawal:

  • dehydration
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • extreme sweating
  • inability to sleep
  • intense cravings
  • loss of appetite
  • kidney failure or damage
  • vomiting

Can Spice effects cause permanent damage?

Spice use is associated with a number of side effects, yet further analysis is needed in order to fully understand how damaging it actually is. Despite the need for further research, conditions such as:

  • brain injury
  • heart attack
  • liver damage
  • lung damage
  • kidney damage
  • kidney failure

…are permanent and cannot be reversed.

Additional questions

Do you still have questions regarding the long term effects of Spice use? Please, post your questions in the designated section below and we will try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. If we don’t know the answer to your question we will refer you to professionals who can help.

Reference sources: NIDA: Synthetic Cannabinoids
NIDA for Teens: Spice: “If You Use It, You’re Experimenting on Yourself”
FBI: Synthetic Marijuana
Daina L. Wells and Carol A. Ott, New Annals of Pharmacotherapy 45, no. 3 (2011): 414-417.

Photo credit: Mathias Liebing

Leave a Reply

10 Responses to “Spice long term effects
3:44 pm August 25th, 2017

I tried k2 3 days ago & i have been having a headache ever since… Is that a bad sign??

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:32 pm August 25th, 2017

Hi Lin. That may be an effect from K2. I suggest that you consult with a doctor.

7:10 am August 26th, 2017

I used to have a problem with this stuff just wanted to report when withdrawling I turned blood red, lost alot of my vision, was shaking alot, stutter alot now, am not as smart, got brown stains on my front teeth, got violent, lost memories, lost a sense of reality, lost feelings, gained alot of weight, would wake up withdrawling in the middle of the night just to smoke to go back to bed, . I wish there was more information on the long term effects because I still don’t feel like myself after 5 years of being clean. I’m just so unhappy, and I can tell this stuff really messed my head up. I hope someone will find out more info. Somehow! I’m so scared I’ll die because of my previous habits. I’ve had a hell of a bad experience with this stuff some I have not shared…. if your on it get off now!

2:15 pm August 26th, 2017

It has been three years since my (now ex) husband developed a severe psychosis from synthetic cannabinoid which threw him into manic behavior, followed by deep depression. He has never fully recovered. He is aggitated, has frequent mood swings, gets very anxious… he hasn’t had a job in 3 years. He is being “treated” but by the VA. Is there any hope for a full recovery? Or even getting to a point where he can at least function better in society?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:45 pm September 7th, 2017

Hi Nicole. Recovery is possible, but he must work hard on it. He may try meditation, yoga, mindfulness therapy, ad well as exercising. He should consider changing his whole lifestyle.

8:48 am November 28th, 2017

I have been exposed to spice through fumes from a smoker for 4 days across a week. I can tell you that for a person who does not consume drugs at all the experience was debilitating. I am lucky to have found my own way out the situation by being able to clean down my body which was saturated by the drug and by buying new clothes.

I can tell for certain that even the smell of the fumes, the chemical in these fumes is enough to induce a small high.

I would recommend using soap and water and scrubbing down the body if the person has had a chance to be in an area with the drug for a long time, followed by a change of clothes.

The tremors and ‘out of it’-ness I experienced even from my exposure were terrifying.

4:37 pm December 29th, 2017

My Son thinks aliens are after him. Smokes spice regularly. Should I be afraid for my security? How do I deal with these hallucinations.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:19 pm December 29th, 2017

Hi Norma. Hallucinations are serious side effect from smoking Spice. Your son needs to quit smoking ASAP.

12:17 am January 2nd, 2018

i used it for 4 years every day 3 grams a day. When I went into Inpatient Rehab for it they all said the addiction that I had was like that of a crack addiction.

I’m scared that we don’t know the long-term effects I’m very scared.

10:59 am January 2nd, 2018

Hi Richard. I hear you. Keep your focus on the moment. You will deal with the effects as they occur. I’d suggest that you find an ally in a doctor or psychiatrist who cares about you and can follow you through your recovery. The longer you stay away from Spice, the more positive your life will be.

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