Synthetic cannabinoids–known commonly by names such as Spice, K2, and Scooby Snax–are man-made chemicals that manufacturers claim mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic compound found in marijuana. These chemicals are sprayed on plants and the final product is touted as a “legal high” from “fake weed” or “fake pot.” The mixtures are sold at small retail stores like gas stations and vape shops. Using names like “herbal incense” and “potpourri,” manufacturers bill them as household items not for human consumption to evade oversight from authorities.

The chemicals applied to the plants are similar to amphetamines and can be highly dangerous and addictive. Many users and some retailers who sell synthetic marijuana incorrectly believe these drugs are safe and less potent than marijuana. The chemical makeup of synthetic cannabinoids varies widely, creating further risk for users. In 2012, the government identified 52 different kinds of synthetic cannabinoids–up from just two in 2009.

The Risks of Stopping Spice Cold Turkey

There is much we don’t know about effects of synthetic marijuana because the chemical makeup of the products can vary so much. Former users have reported intense and painful Spice withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting and insomnia, after abruptly stopping synthetic marijuana, but those symptoms were typically not life-threatening.

It is highly recommended that users withdrawing from synthetic marijuana do so with the help of medical professionals at a detox or drug treatment facility. The facilities will be able to guide users through any complications arising from the shifting chemical makeup of these drugs.

Spice Can Induce Prolonged Psychosis

One of chief dangers of synthetic marijuana products is they lack the antipsychotic chemical found in natural cannabis, creating a risk for psychosis in the users, especially those who have a history of mental illness. Psychosis is characterized by hallucinations or delusions and is often described as a “lost of contact with reality.” Psychosis induced by these synthetic drugs can last for more than a week, according to a recent study by American Psychiatric Association.

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Drug Treatment Center Finder has a database filled with drug rehabs in all 50 states. We can help you find a drug treatment center in your area. If you have questions on withdrawal detox and treatment, call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will walk you through the addiction treatment process.

Spice Withdrawal Symptoms

Common Spice Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Common Spice Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of synthetic marijuana withdrawal vary, depending on the chemical makeup of the product consumed. Long-term users of K2 and Spice have reported more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Increase heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Thoughts of suicide

Spice Detox and Treatment

Spice Withdrawal Detox and Treatment

How to Safely Withdrawal from Synthetic Marijuana (K2 and Spice)

The shifting nature of synthetic marijuana products make withdrawing from them without medical help an especially risky proposition. There are scores of versions available–all using different sets of chemicals to achieve the desired effects. A drug rehab or detox facility can safely monitor synthetic drug users for unforeseen outcomes of the withdrawal process, which can include heart problems and severe psychological distress.

There are no medications specifically approved to treat withdrawals from synthetic marijuana products like K2 and Spice. However, a treatment facility can also give users medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

Continue Treatment after Detox

Because the symptoms of synthetic marijuana withdrawal can last for weeks, it is highly recommended that former users attend an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment program to ensure success. Synthetic marijuana users often receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to put clients on the path to long-term recovery.

Need Help Finding Treatment in Your Area? Drug Treatment Center Finder Can Help

Drug Treatment Center Finder has a database filled with drug rehabs in all 50 states. We can help you find a drug treatment center in your area. If you have questions on withdrawal detox and treatment, call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will walk you through the addiction treatment process.

Spice Withdrawal FAQs

Synthetic Marijuana Withdrawal Treatment Timeline FAQs
    • Can stopping synthetic marijuana cold turkey lead to death?

      Because the chemical makeup of synthetic marijuana products vary so widely, the risks of withdrawal are extremely hard to assess. Heavy users report painful withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, but generally the symptoms are thought to be non-life-threatening. However, the often unknown chemicals can have powerful, unforeseen effects on the mind and body. Anyone stopping synthetic marijuana is highly encouraged to withdrawal with the help of a detox or drug treatment facility.


    • Is synthetic marijuana safer than marijuana?

      Although it is sometimes marketed as such, synthetic marijuana is not “safer” than marijuana. The potent blend of chemicals–similar to amphetamines–have been known to induce psychosis and can be physically addictive, unlike natural marijuana.


    • Why are synthetic marijuana products legal?

      These products use several methods to avoid oversight from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are only legal because they are deceptively marketed. Frequently, the manufacturers falsely claim the drugs are household products and not meant for human consumption. They are also sold at small outlets under variety of different names. When a particular brand gets a bad reputation or negative coverage from the news media, the manufacturers can change the name and the chemical makeup of the product and reintroduce it to stores.


    • How long do synthetic marijuana withdrawal symptoms last?

      Again because synthetic drugs lack a uniform chemical makeup, it is hard to generalize about the duration of withdrawal symptoms. However, authorities in New Zealand estimate that the most severe physical symptoms like nausea and tremors last for two to four days. Pronounced psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and cravings for the drug, can persist for up to two weeks.


  • What’s the best way to get off synthetic marijuana?

    The best way to get off synthetic drugs is to seek professional drug treatment and have a medical team supervise your withdrawal process. If you need help finding a drug rehab in your area, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you begin your journey toward recovery. Call our 24-hour helpline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will be available to answer any questions you may have about synthetic drug addiction and the right treatment methods to pursue.