Spice addiction can happen unexpectedly. Many users think that it is simply a more potent version of marijuana.
The truth is that this synthetic form of marijuana can not only become addictive very easily but can cause major problems in your life.
If you are worried about a friend, family member, or even your own spice use, the good news is that there are options to help you recover.
You can receive spice addiction treatment in Arizona at Pinnacle Peak Recovery. We can help you get through the difficult times and teach you the skills you need to move forward with a happy and healthy life that is free from addiction.
The new millennium brought many new things into the world. Some great, some not so good. One thing you can put on the “not so good” list is spice. This synthetic version of marijuana has caused tons of problems and concerns for many of the people who use it.
What is spice?
Spice, or synthetic cannabis, has many names. On the streets, it is commonly known as K2, herbal incense, fake weed, genie, Bombay blue, or myrrh. It started gaining popularity in the last decade after it originated in Britain in 2004. Spice doesn’t actually have any natural cannabis in it. Instead, it is made by spraying a chemical that is designed to mimic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) on various plants or herbs. The problem with this man-made chemical additive is that it is highly unpredictable and extremely dangerous to some people who use it. In addition, the chemicals in fake weed can vary widely, so one type may be very different than another.
In a 2016 article published by the New York Times, there were more than 6000 emergency room visits and 2 deaths in New York state alone the year prior, which were all caused by use of the drug. This is mainly due to the fact that the synthetic cannabinoids found in it can be 100 times more potent than THC.
Synthetic marijuana is one of several newer drugs that belong to a group called new psychoactive substances. This group of mind-altering drugs has recently become available in retail establishments, but the substances are not yet regulated. This makes them extremely risky. The potential for widespread problems is also high because anyone can buy them.
What are the side effects of spice?
There are a variety of different side effects that could occur when using synthetic cannabis, and it is important to remember that not everyone will react to these drugs in the same way. Some people may experience mild side effects, making the experience pleasurable for them and triggering their brain to want to use the drug again. But for others, the experience can be devastating. Some people have even died after using synthetic marijuana.
Some of the more common side effects include:
- Pale skin tone
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Uncontrollable spasms
- Myocardial ischemia (reduced blood supply to the heart)
- Heart attack
People who use spice over a long period of time are likely to experience one or more of the following side effects:
- Paranoia or increased hallucinations
- Heart disease
- Acute kidney injury
Many people have the misbelief that spice is natural or herbal and therefore must be safe; this idea is often perpetuated by the manufacturers of these drugs. But the truth is that this drug is man-made and extremely dangerous. The only thing that is “natural” about synthetic cannabis is the plant leaves that the chemicals are sprayed on. The compounds in K2 are produced in a lab and are designed to mimic the effects of THC. This chemical is oftentimes much stronger than marijuana and can cause severe problems for people who use it.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) reports that in 2014, there were 177 different synthetic cannabinoids on the market. The amounts of different chemicals used in each batch are always different, so you can never know the true potency of the product when you purchase it. This is because manufacturers are constantly changing their formulas to avoid new laws that are continuously going into effect that make their prior recipes illegal.
Law enforcement and local, state, and federal officials recognize the fact that synthetic marijuana has no medically proven health benefit and a high risk for abuse and addiction. Because of this, they continue to do their best to pass new laws prohibiting certain combinations of synthetic marijuana recipes. However, because the manufacturers are constantly changing the chemical makeup of the product, they are able to dodge these laws and keep their products on the market.
Who uses spice?
As with any drug, there is no one particular group of people that use synthetic cannabis exclusively. Drug use crosses every border and hits every age range, race, and economic status. It doesn’t really matter who you are, what you have, or where you come from – drugs are everywhere.
Synthetic marijuana has been sold online, in gas stations, and in smoke shops across the country, making it available to just about everyone. Sadly, the majority of the drug’s producers have found a great following and market potential in teenaged children. Many of the products sold in stores today are packaged so that they appeal to this age group, with brightly colored wrappers or fun looking bottles.
It’s no wonder that this particular group of people seems to have the highest rate of synthetic cannabis usage. Sadly, teenagers also have the highest rate of dangerous medical complications following use. NIH reports that in 2010, there were 11,406 emergency room visits due to synthetic marijuana, with 75% of these patients being adolescent or young adults between the ages of 12-29. The following year that number jumped to 28,531 emergency room visits, with 78% of those patients from the same age group. Synthetic marijuana has rapidly become the second most popular drug used amongst teenagers in the country.
What are the signs of spice addiction?
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, there are certain signs that you can look for if you suspect a possible addiction to spice. Some of these signs may be physical symptoms, while others can be changes in personality or patterns of behavior. Below are some of the things to look for.
- Excessive sweating
- Racing pulse
- Vomiting or nausea
- Muscle spasms
- Panic attacks
- Persistent cravings
- Building tolerance
- Extreme anxiety
- Altered perception of one’s self or surroundings
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Extreme irritability
- Poor memory
- Change in friends
- Change in sleep patterns
- Sudden disinterest in activities
- Sudden legal or financial problems
If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of one or more of these symptoms, there might be a need for clinical help. Because synthetic weed is a man-made chemical, there could be severe withdrawal symptoms that accompany trying to stop using the drug. Medically supervised detox may be necessary to help the individual get through the initial treatment period.
How is spice addiction treated?
There are several treatment options available for someone who is addicted to synthetic cannabis or has a marijuana addiction. However, it is best to speak with a counselor to determine which option is best for you. An excellent spice rehab facility such as Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Scottsdale, Arizona, will listen to your situation and create a customized treatment plan based on your needs.
There are many levels of treatment that may be suggested depending on the rehab center that you choose. These may include some or all of the following:
Medically Supervised Detox – This initial phase may be the most comfortable way for some patients to clean their bodies from the chemicals found in K2 or other drugs. The withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and difficult to get through. Medically supervised detox can help the individual through this part of recovery.
Inpatient/Inpatient Treatment – For many patients, this will be the next step in their recovery. With inpatient treatment, you will remain at the facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The staff will take care of your food and lodging, as well as provide you with educational classes, counseling, and case management services. This is an excellent option for people who have never attended a rehab program before.
Intensive Outpatient (IOP)/Partial Hospitalization – This is usually the next level of care for individuals after they have completed their initial stay in a inpatient program, but some patients may be better suited to start here. In an IOP program, you will spend the majority of your day at the facility attending classes, receiving therapy, and meeting with your case manager. However, you will go home at the end of each day. Your living arrangements may be made at a nearby sober living home, where you can reside with peers who are experiencing the same issues you are. This community experience can provide a network of support for someone who is newly sober.
Outpatient Program – The next level of care would be in an outpatient program. With this type of treatment, you will spend a few hours a day, three to four days per week at the facility. During this time, you will continue to gain more education and skills to battle your addiction. You will also receive continued counseling and case management services. The rest of the time in the week is yours to schedule as you would like. This is an excellent option for people who have completed a inpatient or IOP program and are ready to start returning to work or school.
Alumni Services – Once your time in a structured program is complete, that doesn’t mean that you are done with a rehab program forever. Addiction is a lifelong battle, and there is no magic wand to make it go away. It is something you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. Because of this, it is essential to have a place to go when you feel like you might relapse. Alumni services provide a wonderful way to stay connected to other people just like you who can be your network of sober friends that you can call on when you struggle.
Where can I get help for spice addiction in Arizona?
Pinnacle Peak Recovery is an addiction treatment center located in Scottsdale, Arizona. We offer nationally recognized, evidence-based treatment options for people who are struggling with addiction to spice and other substances. We believe in treating each patient as a unique individual; no two people are the same and therefore, their treatments should be customized. We create every treatment plan based on the client’s needs and current situation.
We also believe in a holistic approach to our therapy. This means that your treatment will be not only for the physical signs and symptoms of addiction; it will also provide help to heal your mind and your spirit. Treating the patient as a whole has proven to be far more successful than merely treating the body itself.
At Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Arizona, you will receive the highest level of care throughout your journey. From the first phone call to our addiction hotline until the completion of your program and beyond, our caring staff is dedicated to your success.
Start the healing process today.
You don’t have to struggle with addiction to spice or any other substance for one more day. You can begin your journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle right now. Call our hotline at 866-377-4761 to start your path to recovery and learn how we can help you. Addiction is a disease that requires treatment and dedication to control.
Don’t let your addiction ruin your life or cause more problems than it already has. Call us today to learn how we can get you back on the right path.