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What is Spice used for?

Known by a variety of names, Spice is a mix of herbs sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that produce a high similar to marijuana. In fact, when people compare Spice vs. THC, the active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana), Spice ingredients tend to have many time more potent effects. While Spice mixtures are marketed as natural or legal alternatives to marijuana, they are labeled “not for human consumption”…for a reason. More here on the uses of Spice with a section at the end for your questions about its mind-altering effects or how to get help for Spice addiction.

Spice uses

Spice was originally created during laboratory research to learn more about the cannabinoid receptors in the body. Today, people use Spice recreationally for euphoric effect. However, the synthetic cannabinoids produced are relatively new and haven’t yet been studied in terms of affects on the brain. What is known is this: the chemicals found in Spice attach to the same nerve cell receptors as THC, the main mind-altering component of marijuana.

Recreational users of synthetic marijuana usually smoke it through bongs or pipes, roll it into cigarettes often mixed with marijuana, or sprinkle or mix it into food or drink. Usually, Spice is typically sold in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked.

Spice uses and side effects

Some consider Spice to be safe, but it is not. Spice can include chemicals such us JWH-018, JWH-073 and HU-210, which are not considered safe for human consumption. Further, the chemical composition of many products sold as Spice is unknown. So it’s likely that some varieties also contain substances that could cause very different effects than the user might expect. The bottom line is that Spice users don’t where the products come from or what amount of chemical is on the organic material.

The effects of Spice chemicals are far more powerful and habit-forming than marijuana. They can include:

  • delusions
  • elevated heart rate and/or blood pressure
  • euphoric effect
  • hallucinations
  • loss of consciousness
  • pale skin
  • red eyes
  • severe agitation
  • vomiting

Illegal Spice use

Many people initially used Spice as a legal substitute for marijuana. That changed on March 1, 2011, when the DEA moved to make many of the components of Spice products illegal. In fact, there are imposed penalties for using it. For example, manufactures and sale assistants controlled substances found in Spice can face criminal charges varying from Class B misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree, depending on the amount of the synthetic substance.

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Problems with Spice

Although many people do not consider Spice to be a hard drug, it is highly addictive. Problems with Spice generally manifest as the inability to quit smoking it, or continued used despite negative consequences. So how do you treat Spice addiction? Although many treatment centers are equipped to deal with Spice addiction, you can address possible problems with Spice in an outpatient clinic or via psychotherapy.

Withdrawal from Spice feels like intense anxiety. The first symptoms will usually include an intense craving for the drug and irritability. Depending on the severity of the physical addiction, these symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, although they are usually the worst a few days after last use and begin to subside after this peak.

Questions about Spice use

Do you still have questions about Spice or its use? Please leave them in the comments section below. We do our best to respond to all questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: DEA: Drugs of Abuse
NIDA: Spice, you’re experimenting on yourself
NIDA for Teens: Drug Facts on Spice

Photo credit: DEA

Leave a Reply

4 Responses to “What is Spice used for?
8:41 am December 11th, 2015

Can law enforcement agencies test Spice and what color is it when detected?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:17 pm December 11th, 2015

Hi, Bo. I think that enforcement agencies may test Spice. The color varies depending on the test’s brand.

12:51 pm November 14th, 2017

does spice withdrawal keep you from sleeping its been 4 days i cant sleep i smoke around 4 grams a day i want to quit but am highly addicted how could rehab treat the symptoms verses quitting at home is there medicine that can treat the withdrawal is there a rehab that will except medicare

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:05 pm November 15th, 2017

Hi Anthony. Sleep disturbances in one of the most common symptoms when you withdrawing from spice. You may use some natural herbs to treat insomnia such as Valerian or Kava. Moreover, you may try relaxation techniques and melatonin supplements. Here’s suggested reading on the topic:
Also, call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab program for you.

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