When does Spice kick in?

It takes from around 5-40 minutes for Spice to kick in depending on mode of administration. More here on Spice and its duration of effects.

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Generally, it can take from 5 to 40 minutes for Spice to kick in, while its effects can be felt for hours – even days – following consumption.  More on the active ingredients of Spice as well as the onset and duration of its effects here. We also cover the risks related to Spice use. Then, we invite your questions and comments about signs of problems with Spice at the end.

Spice active ingredients

Spice is a herbal blend of plants and spices sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. The psychoactive effects of these chemical cannabinoids is similar to that of the THC contained in marijuana, but oftentimes way more potent. Namely, they target the central nervous system acting as CB1 receptor agonist thus producing a similar feeling of being “high”. However, Spice is even more dangerous than marijuana because you can never certain which chemical compounds are included in any batch; manufacturers tend to experiment in order to be a step in front of the law.

There are over 140 chemical compounds that could be found in Spice, but some of the most commonly occurring ones include:

  • 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl) indole (JWH-018),
  • 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl) indole (JWH-073),
  • 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200)
  • 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP-47,497)
  • 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3- hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue)

According to the DEA, these substances have a high abuse potential and are illegal within the territory of the United States.

When does Spice start working?

Spice starts working fairly quickly following administration. Its effects can be felt somewhat between 5 to 40 minutes, depending on how it being consumed. When inhaled, the cannabinoids quickly pass from the lungs into the bloodstream immediately carrying the chemical to the brain where it is distributed to other organs. Oral consumption of Spice takes a bit longer to reach the brain because it has to pass first through the digestive system and be metabolized by the liver in order for effects to begin.

Factors that influence Spice onset

The amount of Spice that is actually absorbed any one dose is a factor that determines the onset of its effects. This is commonly refereed to as “bioavailability” and depends a great deal on the the way the drug is taken. In the case of Spice, it usually takes about 5-10 minutes following inhalation for the drug to start working or a 20-40 minutes following consumption with food or brewed in a tea.

Another important factor is the concentration of the chemical compounds which in the case of Spice is never certain. However, the higher the concentration, the stronger the Spice. And the strength accelerates the onset of its effect and increases the risk of overdose.

When does Spice peak?

While Spice effects can be felt within 3-5 minutes following consumption, its peak plasma concentrations are reached within 10-40 minutes. As mentioned above it depends on a number of factors including route of administration, composition, dose and so forth.

When does Spice wear off?

How long Spice lasts depends on each individual batch. Spice effects can last for 6-8 hours, or prolonged psychoactive effects have been reported days or weeks after use.  The uncertainty of what’s inside a Spice product makes it hard to say how long will it take for the drug to wear off. The duration of its effects will depend a great deal on the cannabinoid included, but generally they are more potent than the THC which can result in a 5 times longer duration of Spice effects as opposed to marijuana.

Risks of Spice use

The very fact that the composition of Spice tends to vary so much makes the dangers associated with Spice use even more unpredictable. The worse case scenario of Spice use is death provoked by hallucinations caused by overdose, as the potency of the synthetic cannabinoids can be way higher than that of THC. How much Spice does it take to overdose? Because batches of Spice vary, so can potency. So Spice overdose cases are difficult to predict.

In addition to overdose, other effects of Spice use include:

  •     anxiety and agitation
  •     hallucinations
  •     panic attacks
  •     paranoia
  •     psychotic episodes
  •     suicidal thoughts

When does Spice kick in questions

We hope to have answered your questions about onset of Spice effects. Please contact us in the comment section if you have any questions about how Spice works in the body or an experience to share. We will try to  get back to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Montgomery County Maryland Health and Human Services Committee on Spice
NIDA: K2, Spice, and Synthetic Marijuana
The State of Iowa: Synthetic Drugs in Iowa
The White House: Synthetic Drugs
The U.S. Department of Justice: K2 & Spice
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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