Spice long term effects

Spice is a relatively new drug and there is still only a little that we know about the effects of long term use. Even with such limited scientific knowledge, we can say that Spice is a substance with gruesome consequences. More, here.

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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.

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.
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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