Help for Spice Withdrawal

Spice withdrawal can trigger heart palpitations, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and even hallucinations. Learn about the medical protocols used in a detox clinic here.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Spice is synthetic marijuana. It is habit forming, so the withdrawal process should be medically supervised.  This article will prepare you for medical detox and what you need to know about Spice withdrawal.



Is Spice Withdrawal Hard?

It depends.

Every case of withdrawal is different. To understand how difficult your withdrawals from spice will be, you;ll have to assess how much you smoke Spice. Long-time smokers or high tolerance users will experience more difficult withdrawal symptoms than people who use occasionally.

If you’re dependent on Spice, you’ll notice some physical withdrawal symptoms when you’re forced to go without it (such as diarrhea and sweating). However, you’re also going to notice psychological disturbances such as:

  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Increased anxiety

Plus, there are other factors which can determin how someone will react to withdrawal. These include the following:

  • How often you intake Spice.
  • How large a dose of Spice you take.
  • Your age.
  • Your health.
  • Your family’s history with health and addiction.

Giving an honest look at these factors will give you some idea of how difficult it’ll be to withdrawal from Spice. Still, in order to gain an authentic comprehension, you’ll want to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

Is Spice Withdrawal Dangerous?

Though Spice physical withdrawals aren’t fatal, there are some things to consider that could be of a potential danger.

The first and most important issue has to do with the psychological change most people receive from withdrawing. Since many people use Spice for euphoric effect, mental illnesses are a strong potential when it comes to withdrawal. One of those illnesses is depression which can lead some people to suicidal ideation during detox. So, in this essence, Spice can be fatal. In fact, some people have even felt themselves dying from withdrawing, but this remains an entirely psychological factor.

In terms of physical withdrawal, there are some concerns to be looked into. These include:

  • Extreme sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Uncontrollable vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea

If not properly treated, these three symptoms can cause an assortment of bad effects on the body. The biggest risk of complication remains dehydration. Still, it should be noted, though it’s rare, some people experience breathing problems and seizures due to severe Spice withdrawal.

Due to the negative implications of both psychological and physical withdrawals, it’s vital you seek medical supervision when deciding to quit Spice. In a properly controlled environment, medical risks will be taken care of properly. For the physical detox, you’ll have a group of doctors making sure your body is consistently in health order while it rids itself of the chemical. And for the psychological withdrawal to follow, you’ll access specially trained nurses, staff, or psychologists and counselors to make sure your mental health returns to a healthy perspective.


A List of Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can be divided into two categories; those of which last a short period (around a week) and those which last for a longer period (from 1 to 6 months). As mentioned above, psychoactive drug effects work differently in everyone. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for two people to experience different withdrawal symptoms. To further this, we must also consider those factors to addiction we mentioned earlier.

The short term withdrawal symptoms are mostly physical with the beginning stages of psychological. They include:

  • Anger/irritability
  • Anxiety/nervousness
  • Coughing
  • Headaches
  • Impatience
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

After about a week, the physical withdrawal ceases. However, those psychological withdrawals mentioned above will get stronger and you may also feel the following:

  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Internal restlessness
  • Tremors

Again, there are cases of severe Spice withdrawals where people develop breathing problems and seizures. It’s important to be under medical supervision while you experience the above-listed symptoms.

The Basic Timeline

The timeline for Spice withdrawals varies from person to person depending on how dependent or addicted they are. Please consult with a medical professional if you are planning you quit Spice. Call us on the phone number here and we can talk you through the process.The information below is a general analysis of the Spice withdrawal timeline.

Withdrawal symptoms begin anywhere from hours to days after your last exposure to synthetic cannabinoids. Early symptoms start out mild, but will peak in severity around 4 to 7 days after your last dose. Physical withdrawals will become mild after a week and continue to resolve in the following 2 to 3 weeks. Psychological symptoms will last much longer if not treated properly.

Below is the general timeline laid out for you to understand which symptoms will peak during specific periods.

0 to 72 Hours After You Quit Spice: Most likely, you’ll begin to feel a headache which can result in a lack of sleep. However, during this time, symptoms will remain mild and bearable.

3 Days to 1 Week After You Quit Spice: In terms of physical withdrawal symptoms, this is when the worst will hit. Though some of those listed below are psychological, your body’s discomfort will become more overbearing. These symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Desperation
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Palpitations
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Weeks 2 of Spice Withdrawal: By this time, the physical withdrawal symptoms may continue to manifest, but have mainly died down. On the other hand, your psychological symptoms can begin to increase. These symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Desperation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness

Week 3 of Spice Withdrawal: You’ll be feeling much better, but may still experience withdrawal symptoms. Depending on your mental health prior to your introduction to Spice – or that of which developed through Spice – you could be facing a longer period of severe mental withdrawal. For the most part, people experience headaches and mood swings during this period.

Week 4 of Spice Withdrawal: By this time, you’ll be feeling a lot better. Your physical symptoms will be nearly (if not entirely) gone. You’ll still have to handle some psychological symptoms, such as irritability, but these aren’t usually as intense as during the prior weeks.

Month 1-6 after Quitting Spice: If you’re a long term user of Spice, you could suffer from post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This is when individuals make it through acute withdrawals (or the physical withdrawals), but continue to have psychological and emotional problems without their drug of addiction. PAWS can last anywhere from months to years.

Symptoms for those who experience PAWS due to Spice withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Panic Attacks
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Trouble concentrating

The best way to ensure a safe withdrawal is through a medical professional. Call us to learn more about how a rehab program can help. The most reputable treatment should include a supervised medical detox process followed by a stay in a residential treatment center..

Medicines that Help

Since Spice remains as new to science as it is to the streets, there’s very little research which has been done in order to figure out the best medications for treatment. Luckily, since Spice withdrawals feature many similar attributes to other drug withdrawals, common medications are available to ease symptoms. These include:

  • Benzodiazepines  areprimarily used for psychological symptoms such as anxiety.
  • Clonidine is used to aid high blood pressures.
  • Naltrexone has shown preliminary success in alleviating anxiety and depression in recovering Spice users just as it has in recovering opioid and alcohol users.
  • Phenobarbital. As mentioned, some people experience seizures due to Spice withdrawal. This medication is for seizure precaution.

In some instances, doctors will prescribe antidepressants as a means of easing the psychological symptoms which are common with Spice withdrawals. This is especially the case for people who experience PAWS.

Still, since Spice withdrawals are primarily psychological, the best way to use medication is as a supplement to talk  therapy. This will allow the medicine to ease any negative mental effects withdrawal can have while you learn to cope and produce a better psychological and emotional state.

Natural Remedies that Help

Since Spice is primarily a psychological dependence, there are a variety of things you can naturally do in order to ease the mental distress that comes along with withdrawal.

The first and most prominent is to find yourself the right kind of distraction. This is primarily to avoid cravings. As you go through withdrawal, your brain is going to want more Spice in order to feel “normal”. The purpose of discovering the right distraction is to prevent these cravings.

Some people find help in the arts (such as playing music, drawing/painting, or writing) while others find new habits to be beneficial (such as cooking or gardening). Don’t be afraid to experiment around while you’re in treatment. You might just learn something new about yourself.

Other natural remedies that help are:

Where to Look for Help

In order to find help, you must first fully admit you want it. By admitting you’re defeated, you’re allowing something new to happen. Then you can seek medical help.

But where to look?

Problems with drugs are treated by a few types of professionals. Medical doctors AND social workers are qualified, for example. So are psychologists. Here’s a list of the most common places to ask for professional help:

  1. Addiction doctors (Find an ABAM specialist)
  2. Psychotherapists or counselors (Find an APA psychologist member near you)
  3. Psychiatrists (Find an ABA psychiatrist near you)
  4. Social Workers (Your state’s Department of Health and Social Services)
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association’s (SAMHSA) National Hotline 1-800-622-HELP (4357)
  6. Your family physician

You’ll also want to talk to family and friends. The reason for this is throughout your journey to recovery, they’re going to be your support system. The people you can always turn back to when things get too difficult. Furthermore, they can guide you along the rest of the recovery process. If you’re a family member or friend of someone who’s addicted to Spice, there are a variety of options for you to seek help for your loved one.

Find Local Help

Most small towns, suburbs, or urban centers have a range of detox clinics you can choose from. If you live in the rural country, you might need to travel 60+ miles for help. A quick Google search will inform you of all the detox treatment facilities in your area. You can us the search terms:

“[Your Town” +detox +clinic

However, if you’re looking for a more in depth search, check out SAMHSA’s behavioral treatment search engine. This government website will help you target local detox clinics and addiction treatment centers near you.

Your Questions

Do you have something to ask that we didn’t cover here?

If you have any further questions pertaining to Spice withdrawal, we invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any advice to give for people currently withdrawing, we’d also love to hear from you. We try to provide a personal response to each comment and do our best to get back to you promptly.


Reference Sources: ASAM: Public Policy Statements on Marijuana Cannabinoids
NIDA: FAQs Difference between dependence and addiction
NIDA: Drug Facts on Synthetic Cannabinoids
The Neurohospitalist: The “Secret Spice”: Risk of Seizure During Withdrawal
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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