Is Spice addictive?

YES. Spice is addictive. Learn what Spice is made of (synthetic cannabinoids sprayed on dried plants) and how you get addicted to Spice here.

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YES. Spice is addictive.

You can even die on Spice.  What exactly makes Spice addictive?  How can you tell if you’re addicted to Spice? We’ll review these questions here and invite your questions about the addictive potential of Spice at the end.

What is Spice used for?

Spice was originally created during laboratory research to learn more about the cannabinoid receptors in the body. Pharmacological research into the design of effective THC analogs has never been a “legal” alternative to marijuana – it was simply undetected in herbal incense Spice blends until 2008. Since then, a Spice ban has been instituted by countries all over the world and in U.S. states and the U.S. military.  Currently, Spice shows up on drug tests created specifically to detect the main synthetic cannabinoids present in herbal weed because Spice has no legitimate medical use. It’s only abused by people seeking a euphoric “high.”

What is Spice made of?

Spice is a mixture of shredded plants and chemicals which is smoked or made into tea. Spices contains chemicals similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say what’s in Spice, because different batches may contain completely different substances. As such, the effects can vary greatly between batches.

How addictive is Spice?

It’s hard to say how addictive Spice is due to the lack of research into the drug and the chemicals used in it. However, Spice affects the central nervous system and can create feelings of euphoria, or “getting high.” Sometimes the euphoric effect can be multiple to tens of times more intense than THC. Although Spice may be used by people who see it as a “safer” alternative to marijuana, Spice can cause serious cardiovascular and psychoactive side effects. Spice can provoke a variety of unpleasant and unpredictable side effects, including rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, and hallucinations. There’s a reason the drug is usually labeled “not for human consumption.”

How do you get addicted to Spice?

Just like most other drugs, using Spice frequently or in large amounts can cause addiction, which is characterised by the obsessive compulsion to use the drug despite negative life consequences to health, finances, or relationships. There’s some evidence that repeated use can cause users to develop a tolerance to Spice, which means that you need increased amounts of Spice to achieve same initial effect when you first started taking it. And some users have self-reported Spice withdrawal symptoms upon lowered doses or stopping Spice altogether.

However, no clinical determination has yet been made about the addictive liability of Spice. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly how addictive the difference substances used in Spice really are. And no one is sure what the long-term health effects of Spice addiction even are.

Signs of Spice addiction

Although experts have not officially established a diagnostic criteria for Spice, its characteristics are similar to any other type of drug addiction. Spice addiction is often characterized by a physical dependence on Spice (tolerance and/or withdrawal) coupled with a psychological craving for the drug. In other words, you may be addicted to Spice if you need Spice to deal with stress or cope with the world around you. Other signs of Spice addiction include:

  • Continued Spice abuse despite negative consequences.
  • Craving Spice and using Spice compulsively.
  • Seeking Spice in order to get high by affecting the reward center in the brain.

Spice addiction potential questions

Do you still have questions about Spice addiction potential? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: ONDCP: Synthetic marijuana fact sheet
National Institute on Drug Abuse: InfoFacts: Spice
Drug Enforcement Agency: Drug Fact Sheet: K2 or Spice
NIDA for Teens: “Spice” – Not as fun as it sounds
PubMed: Beyond THC: The New Generation of Cannabinoid Designer Drugs
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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