When does Spice peak?

When you use Spice you can expect effects to peak anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes after consumption. More on the onset, peak, duration, and side effects of Spice here.

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Peak Time at 10-45 Minutes

The effects of Spice (synthetic cannabinoids) peak about 10-45 minutes after consumption and can last up to 8 hours. However, the onset and duration of effects depend on what the batch of Spice actually contains, as the composition of Spice constantly changes.

When do Spice effects kick in? How long will effects persist? In this article, we review how Spice works in the body, its peak levels and the possible long term consequences of its use. At the end we invite your questions related to Spice use and effects and try to provide personal and prompt answers to all legitimate inquiries.

What’s in Spice?

Spice is a mixture of herbs sprayed with cannabinoids which are in fact CB1 receptor agonists, originally produced for laboratory purposes. These cannabinoids target the same brain receptors as marijuana, producing a similar “high”, hence its name “fake marijuana”.

However, it is important to emphasize that there are over 140 synthetic cannabinoids that could be used in Spice blends with varying degrees of potency, some of which can be much more potent than the THC found in marijuana. Some of the most frequently used cannabinoids which are classified as Schedule I substances by DEA 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)

It’s impossible to know which cannabinoids and in what amount are contained in a Spice labeled product. Manufacturers are constantly changing the composition in order to evade the law.

Spice Onset and Peak Levels

The onset of Spice effects occurs fairly quickly; within 3-5 minutes of reaching the bloodstream. Its peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) occur within 10-45 minutes depending on the route of administration. When you smoke (inhale) Spice, the peak is reached more quickly compared to when it’s consumed with food or brewed in a tea.

It’s still not known how long Spice lasts and how long it stays in the body, but it can be detected in the urine for 2-3 days after use.

Dangers of long term Spice use

People who use Spice jeopardize their well-being (and even their lives) every time they use Spice. In fact, the use of Spice has been related to a number of minimal to life-threatening adverse effects, the most dangerous ones being kidney failure and death. Why is this? It is very difficult to predict the drug’s potency, so the possibility to overdose on Spice is unpredictably high. The chemicals and compounds used in Spice can vary from one batch to another, with some batches being considerably more potent than others.

How do I know if I’m addicted to Spice?

Addiction is defined as a relapsing disease of the brain that occurs as a result of a regular drug use. Here we share a list of some of the most common signs manifested in individuals addicted to Spice. If you answer with YES to most of these questions, chances are, you are addicted to Spice:

  1. Do you use Spice continuously, despite negative life consequences?
  2. Do you feel cravings and urges to smoke Spice?
  3. Do you experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when doses are lowered or stopped altogether?
  4. Do you find that once effective doses of Spice can no longer produce the desired effects?
  5. Do you neglect other interests or duties due to Spice use?
  6. Does your Spice use cause problems with responsibilities related to work, home or school?
  7. Do you spend a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from using Spice?
  8. Do you continue using Spice again and again, even when it puts you in danger?
  9. Do you use Spice in larger amounts or for longer than you originally intended?
  10. Do you want to cut down on or stop using Spice but fail to succeed?

You may also notice some other symptoms of Spice use. They can alarm you that something is wrong and that you should seek medical help to quit Spice use safely (or as safely as possible) and to stay quit. These symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • alienation from people
  • compulsive need for Spice
  • inability to stop using Spice
  • craving Spice
  • coughing
  • frequent vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • inability to concentrate
  • palpitations
  • paranoia
  • panic attacks
  • psychotic episodes
  • tremors or seizures

Spice peak questions

If you have any questions that you’d like to learn the answers to, please post them in the comments section at the end of the page. We will do our best to respond to all legitimate inquiries in a timely and personal manner. In case we don’t know the answer to your questions, we’ll gladly refer you to professionals who can help.

Reference sources: NCBI: Validation of LC–TOF-MS Screening for Drugs, Metabolites, and Collateral Compounds in Forensic Toxicology Specimens
NCBI: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…and Back Again? A Review of Herbal Marijuana Alternatives (K2, Spice), Synthetic Cathinones (Bath Salts), Kratom, Salvia divinorum, Methoxetamine, and Piperazines
NCBI: Marijuana, Spice ‘herbal high’, and early neural development: implications for rescheduling and legalization
NCBI: K2-not the spice of life; synthetic cannabinoids and ST elevation myocardial infarction: a case report
NIDA: What are synthetic cannabinoids?
NIDA: Review summarizes research on health effects of 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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