When Spice first hit the market, it looked like relatively safe, albeit naughty, fun. Many teenagers experimented with the drug. Colorful foil packs with clever sounding names filled counters at convenience stores throughout Ohio and surrounding states. Often marketed as “incense, not for consumption,” you could buy Spice as easily as a pack of ordinary strawberry incense. However, as E.R. visits and overdoses ticked up, the dangerous reality of synthetic marijuana became apparent.
Spice is stronger than the real thing. It contains numerous chemicals and you never know what you will get from one manufacturer to the next. The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens says users have experienced hallucinations, paranoia, and an unpredictable range of effects including violence, suicidal thoughts, catatonic states, and even death.
Synthetic marijuana is not a safer alternative and it is anything but innocent fun. It is addictive and can cause permanent damage, but drug rehab in Ohio can help.
Spice Contains an Unpredictable Blend of Chemicals and Plant Materials
One of the most troubling characteristics of Spice is its evolving nature. Unlike cannabis, the high that comes from synthetic marijuana may come from a number of different ingredients. Also unlike cannabis, the psychoactive ingredient is synthesized in a lab.
The early versions were shredded, dried plant material coated with a blend of mind-altering chemicals. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH). Users tended to smoke it. But NIG says it is also sold as a vape liquid used in e-cigarettes. With the shredded material and the liquid, every type of Spice tends to have a different blend as well as a different level of intensity.
The Chemicals in Spice Overload Cannabis Receptors
Reactions to Spice vary intensity because ingredients are not consistent and neither are the chemical saturations. According to NIH, one brand, called Smacked!, is responsible for over 40 overdoses. The chemicals in Spice were intended to replicate the effects of THC in a product. However, where the mind-altering component of marijuana is THC, Spice is filled with a wide range of synthetic chemicals. The more concentrated the chemicals, the more intense the effects.
THC only partially reacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Spice is significantly more intense as well as unpredictable. The Conversation explains that chemicals in Spice “completely saturate and activate all of the body’s cannabinoid receptors” with a higher concentration in a lower dose.
Spice Causes Numerous Dangerous Effects
People accustomed to smoking marijuana may be stunned by the potency of a synthetic product. One hit of Spice is minuscule by comparison, but carries much more potent effects.
Here are some of the more commonly reported reactions, according to The Conversation:
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid heartbeat
- Panic attacks
The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens) says users may also experience confusion, suicidal thoughts, decreased blood flow, vomiting, and violent outbursts. It is also linked to deaths. Medscape explains that another concern is a condition being called “Spiceophrenia.” Also known as K2, Spice can “trigger acute psychosis” including agitation, paranoid delusions, assaultive behavior, and even a catatonic state.
Although marketed as a safe and legal version of marijuana, Spice is neither. Mounting evidence shows the dangers of using synthetic cannabinoids both in the short term and for long-term health. Attorney General Mike DeWine explains that Spice is banned in Ohio, but manufacturers consistently find ways to develop new ingredients and skirt the law.
No matter how appealing the package or clever the marketing propaganda, there is nothing safe or fun about Spice. Not only can it cause long-term psychological and physical damage, it is addictive. Through drug rehab in Ohio, you can regain control and leave synthetic marijuana and any other mind-altering substance behind for good.
If you have a problem with Spice or know someone struggling with addiction, we can help.
Contact us today for more information about admissions and the range of services available.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.