Thursday January 17th 2019

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Spice Addiction Treatment

Spice Addiction Is Real!

Is Spice addictive? Absolutely.

Still, Spice – a brand name for synthetic marijuana – is marketed as a safe, natural and legal alternative for marijuana. It is still being sold as herbal incense. However, Spice isn’t harmless at all. Research has found that the chemicals in synthetic marijuana can be 3 to 5 times more potent than the THC found in natural cannabis.

The chemical compounds mixed into each Spice blend can lead to numerous unwanted consequences, and may even result in Spice dependence and Spice addiction.

In this article, we explore the physical and psychological reasons behind Spice addiction. Then, we help you understand treatment options for a Spice problem. Finally, we invite you to send us your questions at the end. We love to hear from our readers! In fact, we do our best to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.


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Addiction is a medical condition.
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What is Spice Addiction?

And, although many claim that Spice cannot really get you ‘hooked’, addictive behaviors similar to other illicit drugs have been seen in many individuals who use Spice. But what is addiction in the first place?

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease. Addiction to this drug can be defined by several typical behaviors, symptoms and signs, including:

  • Being unable to face daily life without Spice.
  • Denying there is a Spice addiction problem.
  • Compulsive use of Spice and loss of control over use.
  • Continuing use in the face of harm to health, work, and/or family.
  • Trying to control use or stop, but failing to succeed.
  • Going through withdrawal when Spice use is stopped.

Addiction To Spice: What’s It Like?

Here’s a first hand account of what it’s like to use Spice and lose control:

“I smoked Spice about 3 or 4 years ago. It was available everywhere, head shops, convenience stores, gas stations etc. It was great. Worked just like weed, was legal, and I didn’t experience withdrawals. I was a stoner at the time but now I’m in some legal trouble so had to quit everything.

I’ve been out of Spice for 3 days now and have been withdrawing. I’ve used Rock, meth, heroin, Molly, I’ve done it all and I’ll tell you this-I’ve never experienced a withdrawal like this in my life. I’m a changed person. I can’t live without it seems. My body’s sweating, I’ve been puking, I lost 10 pounds in the last week and haven’t eaten in the last 4 days. Last night my withdrawal got so bad my heart started beating rapidly faster and faster. There’s discoloration in my skin. My chest started to hurt. My face, hands, and feet started tingling then went numb. I couldn’t breathe.

I was admitted into the ER last night due to drug withdrawal. This is the worst experience of my life. I feel like I have no control of my body anymore. I can’t eat and if I do I puke…But the Spice is being delivered today. I’m stuck. I wanna flush it down the toilet but don’t know if I can.”

Spice Addiction Signs

Additional signs that can indicate a Spice addiction problem, include:

  • Agitation
  • Cravings
  • Constantly increasing doses
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased frequency of use
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting

If someone close to you is experiencing a Spice abuse problem…don’t wait to get them professional help. The sooner a person starts working on their recovery, the better chance they have at achieving long-term sobriety.

In addition, there are ways you, too, can support a loved one throughout recovery. You can get more familiar with a program known as Community Reinforcement and Family Training or CRAFT. This is an effective method of family intervention training that helps you get prepared to convince a loved one with a Spice problem to get help. It involves educational sessions on the best methods to cope with stress, communicate with the Spice abuser in a productive way, avoid enabling behaviors, and encourage them to enter treatment.

How Is Spice Addiction Diagnosed?

The chronic and harmful use of Spice can be diagnosed as addiction if it fits the description of the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for addiction. Addiction criteria include the following eight (8) behaviors:

  1. Being unable to stop thinking about the next time you will use Spice.
  2. Continuing to use despite relationship problems and pleas from family and friends to stop.
  3. Engaging in risky behaviors due to smoking Spice.
  4. Experiencing physical cravings for Spice.
  5. Hiding synthetic weed stashes around the home.
  6. Relationship problems due to Spice use.
  7. Taking frequent and increased amounts of Spice.
  8. Using synthetic cannabis products despite repeated negative consequences.

If you’re looking for a conclusive diagnosis, addiction can best be diagnosed by a medical professional. Your doctor, an addiction specialist, or a licensed psychologist can run the necessary assessments and gather your medical history before they diagnose you with addiction.

How do you prepare for a diagnosis? Basically, be ready to complete an interview with your doctor. Try to answer all questions openly and honestly.


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Treatment of Spice Addiction

The course of treatment for Spice addiction includes several stages of interventions. Treatment can last anywhere from a few weeks up to several months. Below, we outline the main stages of the process used by all reputable treatment centers and provide the necessary details about what you can expect.

1. Detox from Spice

When you stop use, people who have become physically dependent on Spice will go through Spice withdrawal. Acute withdrawal symptoms from Spice usually last a few days. However, cases of Spice detox have been known to last up to a couple of weeks, depending on how much and how often Spice was smoked.

Withdrawing from Spice at home is possible, but should be attempted only with a doctor’s clearance. Not everyone can detox on their own, and doctors can either provide you with guidance and medications to help with your discomfort, OR they can refer you to a Spice detox clinic where you will be appropriately taken care of.

Detox clinics offer 24 hour medical supervision and assistance. This is needed in cases when Spice causes abnormal thinking, severe cravings and/or some other related health risks as it leaves the body. Due to these reasons, medical help during this process can be crucial.

2. Physical Stabilization

After the period of detox and withdrawal, follows a period of physical stabilization. During this time you can expect to experience mood swings, insomnia, or other sleep problems. Although many of these symptoms can be treated pharmacologically, some medications and substances should be avoided. These include:

  • Barbituates
  • Narcotics
  • Alcohol
  • Antihistamines

…as well as any other substances that slow down the CNS (central nervous system).

3. Psychological and behavioral treatment

The best way to avoid addictive behaviors and maintain a drug-free life is to consciously address old patterns of thinking and behaving. In order to fully recover, the mind needs to be treated just as much as the body. That’s why uncovering and addressing the reasons behind Spice use and getting to the root cause of your addictive behavior is important.

Therapies commonly used during addiction treatment include:

  • Educational sessions
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Family counseling
  • Individual or group therapy
  • 12-Step programs

Got Any Questions?

The issue of Spice addiction is relatively new but trending. If you have anything to add or you’d like to ask a question, please post them in the comments section below. We appreciate our viewers’ feedback and try to provide a personal and prompt answer to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NCBI: College students and use of K2: an emerging drug of abuse in young persons
NIH: DrugFacts: Spice (“Synthetic Marijuana”)
US Department of Justice: Drugs of Abuse (page 62)
FBI: Synthetic Marijuana

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