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What is Spice and Is it Dangerous?

Spice is a mixture of herbs sprayed with synthetic drugs. It goes by many other names; the best known is probably K2. It is sometimes called synthetic marijuana. The chemical mixture used to treat spice is chemically similar to marijuana but often far more potent. The exact chemicals change frequently to remain technically legal. It is often sold as incense and labeled “not for human consumption.”

Spice is unpredictable because the chemical compounds are always changing and the potency is not consistent, even within batches. The chemicals are just sprayed onto the herbs and the manufacturing process is not carefully controlled. Thus, using the same amount twice can have very different effects. Furthermore, since many of the chemicals in spice are new, it’s hard to predict their effects in either the short term or long term. There are hundreds of different chemicals that are called spice or synthetic marijuana. Although the chemicals are similar in structure to THC, they often bind much more strongly to receptors in the brain, causing a much more intense experience. People sometimes report severe anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Physically, spice can cause rapid heartbeat, vomiting, anxiety, confusion, aggression, and suicidal thoughts. In a few cases it has been linked to heart attacks and death. Tens of thousands of emergency room visits each year are related to spice and similar drugs. The psychological effects, especially paranoia and hallucinations can lead to bizarre and dangerous behavior. No doubt many emergency room visits are caused not by the drug itself but from injuries sustained while using it.

Spice can be addictive. As with other drugs, if you start thinking about the next opportunity to use, put off family and friends to stay home and use, neglect more important things like work or school, lie about how much you use, steal or otherwise spend too much money on it, then you have an addiction. Withdrawal symptoms from spice include headaches, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

It’s easy to dismiss spice, since it’s technically legal–although states are getting better at cracking down on it–and it’s often sold openly as potpourri, or herbal something or other. Despite that, it carries real physiological dangers as well as risk of addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to spice or other drugs, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.