Signs and Symptoms of Spice Use


“Spice” is a more difficult drug to identify than most, because it can take many forms and in fact, can be composed of many different chemicals. It has been and probably still is being promoted as a replacement for cannabis for those who cannot afford to have a positive drug test. The drug testing industry has caught up with this drug, however, and now there are tests that will show that it has been used. For the last few years, however, many people were using this drug in the military and in towns across America and passing drug tests.

Spice, also known as K2, has been sold as a legal replacement for cannabis. It is often packaged as “incense” and sold in convenience stores or head shops. Until July 2012, it was not illegal in the US and so law enforcement agencies could not seize the goods and arrest the sellers. Thinking they could get away with abuse of a substance that wasn’t illegal and wouldn’t show up on tests proved to be irresistible for thousands of people, particularly youth, but many ran into problems with some of the more serious symptoms of Spice use.

What’s In Spice?

There are a variety of chemicals that are sprayed onto plant material and sold as Spice or K2. The product is then smoked like marijuana. These chemicals don’t even have names. They are just designated as HU-210, JWH-018 or JWH-073, among others. The initials JWH refer to the chemist who developed this particular set of chemicals.

Left behind after Spice use, you might find small pipes coated with the residue of burning plant materials or small foil packages. The product could be called Pep Spice, Spice Silver or Gold, Spice Diamond, Skunk, Yucatan Fire, Black Mamba and many other names.

What Does Spice Abuse Look Like?

Spice may have similar effects to marijuana but the high is usually induced much more quickly and is more intense. A Spice user is much more likely to have serious adverse effects than a person smoking weed.

For example:

  • Seizures and tremors
  • Coma and unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Very high blood pressure and heart rate - high enough to cause damage or danger
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Threatening behavior and aggression
  • Terrible headaches
  • Inability to speak.

A person can become so violently paranoid that he attacks other people around him. Some deaths have occurred as a result but it is difficult to pin down an exact number because tests for this drug have only recently been developed. Deaths from violent behavior or suicide are some of the unfortunate side effects of Spice abuse.

Spice Sending Some People to the ER

In just two years, there were more than 4,000 Poison Control Center calls asking for help with Spice abuse. With symptoms like aggression, paranoia, panic and inability to speak and drug tests that would not detect these drugs until recently, it is no wonder that emergency rooms would have a difficult time resolving these cases of adverse effects or overdose.

Who Has Been Using Spice?

The people most likely to use this drug are teens and young adults, inmates of prison or those on probation or parole - because they think the drug will not show up on a test - and those in the military. The military has caught up to abuse of this drug in its ranks, dismissing more than 1,500 personnel in the last couple of years. Use is now banned in all branches of the US military.

Spice is Also Addictive

A person who shows signs of Spice use may not even be able to stop using the drug despite the fact that it is causing severe harm. A person using Spice is at risk of the most serious symptoms of use like coma and seizures. If a family can’t get a person using Spice to stop abusing this drug, it is vital that the drug abuser be gotten into drug rehab as soon as possible.

Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers have been helping people recover from addiction for almost five decades. Whether the drug being abused is one that has been around a long time like marijuana or heroin, or one of the new synthetics like Spice, there is definitely hope of lasting recovery. The Narconon program utilizes a drug rehab technology that never relies on the use of drugs for treatment.

Instead, each person is helped to repair the damage done by drugs and build the new sober living skills that will be needed for lasting sobriety. This kind of rebuilding can’t be accomplished in just the single month of many short-term drug rehabs. And giving more drugs as part of treatment will simply cover up any lasting symptoms of Spice abuse and make the person dependent on another drug. This will never happen at a Narconon drug rehab.

Find out how this holistic drug recovery program, with some 45 locations around the world, can help someone you care about.

Also see Effects of Spice


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