Spice is a combination of herbal components including vanilla and BayBean -- fused together to create an effect similar to that of marijuana. Spice also contains a synthetic component called "cannabinoid". Street names for spice include "K2", "Spice Diamond", "Spice Gold" and "Spice Silver". Users report a high similar to that of marijuana. In some cases, it has been reported that the sensation of feeling high from spice is actually more intense than that created by marijuana's THC chemical. Users are also prone to spice addiction.
When spice first became popular, many adolescents and young adults jumped at the opportunity to try it, as it was perceived as "trendy" and "safe" among drug users. It appeared to be especially appealing if substance abusers were in a drug treatment center unwillingly and thus had little interest in sustaining sobriety. Knowing that users could get high off a drug that would not show up on standard urine screenings excited many clients and other substance abusers drug tested by their employer, outpatient program, or parents. Spice is relatively easy to obtain -- and most dealers sell spice with an inexpensive price tag.
The general misconception is that spice is a safe alternative to marijuana. Spice is dangerous on a number of different levels. People do not realize that certain medications may interact with spice in a lethal way. Inhaling spice into the lungs is also detrimental to respiratory health. Unfortunately, spice has been strategically marketed as "safe" to many minors, which they are accepting this misconception at face value. Drug abusers desperate for a high that evades traditional drug screening tests assume it's truly safe. As of March 2010, recent news in the field of drug addiction has shown many countires have already banned the synthetic substances found in spice. Spice is currenly banned in Austria, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and Lithuania. This list will likely expand in the coming years. For example, in Kansas, lawmakers are working to get spice banned. Law enforcement officers there are apparently concerned about adolescent use of spice and similar substances. As one of the Midwestern senators pointed out, "Spice is still a drug, even if it is an imitation one." The US Marine Corps has already banned the drug despite opposition from certain parties arguing that the drug is legal. In spite of these arguments, Marine Corps officials recognize the fact that spice impairs judgment, reflexes and motor coordination for several days following ingestion, and thus have chosen to ban it outright.
Spice and K2 are not produced in a controlled environment, making the drugs evermore dangerous. They are not required to pass FDA approval and are not subject to examination by pharmaceutical company professionals. Spice is conjured up in "dorm labs" or home labs. Thus, such production methods infer that the drug is very unregulated and constituting a high amount of variability within its content. Spice buyers and abusers never know for certain the chemical makeup, synthetic ingredients or respective amounts of every chemical component present in the drug.
Spice has contributed to a number of emergency room visits within the last year. Spice addicts reported heart palpitations and respiratory issues. Other side effects from spice include but are not limited to:
- Panic attacks
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dilated pupils and glazed eyes
- Impaired motor coordination
- Foggy memory capacity
It is important to prevent or halt addiction in the beginning stages. Warning signs include compulsively seeking out spice, using it despite one's best intentions to stop, continues abusing spice regardless of negative health and personal outcomes occurring, and acquiring a tolerance.
Family members and friends can help a spice addict by offering treatment options preferably at a 24/7 rehabilitation center with constant care. Addiction is a powerful disease that grips its victims with power and force. Without help, it is too much to overcome alone. Thankfully, drug rehabilitation treatment centers understand the nature of both addiction and alcoholism. Trained clinicians and resident assistants work as a team to treat every client on an individualized basis.
With time, hard work, and support a person addicted to a substance such as spice, can move forward and pursue a drug-free life. The spice addict will learn new ways to deal with life's stressors as they come. Spice addicts will learn new coping mechanisms to utilize in times of distress to preclude them from relying on drugs in the future. Working through the feelings surrounding using spice or marijuana to numb out aids in the healing process.
With help, the spice addict can withdraw from the drug both physically and psychologically. Spice abusers report cravings of the drug that are extremely compelling and defy the logical portion of their brains, which tells them to abstain. Rehabilitation centers understand this component of addiction, and help addicts accordingly. Stopping the intake of spice after a period of consistent spice usage invokes unpleasant side effects. Withdrawal symptoms from cessation of spice abuse involve:
- Internal unrest, agitation and anxiety
- Trembling extremities
- Heart palpitations
- Panic attacks
- Feelings of depression
- Hopelessness and desperation
Physical withdrawal from spice addiction is an uncomfortable process and is best pursued within a professional care facility where the spice addict can be medically monitored. Spice withdrawal symptoms can be draining and exhausting, especially if co-occurring substance abuse issues are present. Inpatient drug treatment centers ensure that staffed clinicians watch the detoxifying patient to see that he or she is progressing in the spice detoxification process appropriately. After a physical detoxification from spice is behind the client, he or she can engage in an emotional detoxification from the drug as well. Learning to live a drug-free life is incredibly rewarding. Spice addicts find that in order to stay the course, they must remain connected with other recovering drug addicts. Virtually all drug treatment centers encourage spice addicts to find a sponsor for which to guide them through the recovery process.