Sometimes called fake weed, synthetic weed, or K2, Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid that produces similar side effects as marijuana. Initially, synthetic cannabinoids like Spice were made in labs to try and mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main ingredient in marijuana. K2 is stronger than marijuana because it binds more tightly and successfully to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, such as CB1. Spice is usually made of different plant material that’s smoked. It may also be marketed as a liquid for vape pens, and it is sometimes laced into edibles or pressed into tablets. Various kinds of Spice produce side effects that vary in duration. Understanding what all of these variations do can be confusing, and many Spice users find themselves wondering, “how long does K2 stay in your system?”
How Long Do the Side Effects of Spice Last?
Spice or K2 is made of a mixture of herbs and spices that are sprayed with chemicals called synthetic cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are chemically similar to THC. The primary chemicals or ingredients in Spice include cannabicyclohexanol, CP-47,497, JWH-018, JWH-073, and JWH-200. However, determining what’s in Spice isn’t easy, considering that there are over 140 synthetic cannabinoids out there. K2 is an unregulated mixture of these chemicals, which can produce some undesirable side effects.
K2 works by acting on the same brain cell receptors as THC. So far, there are very few studies on how fake weed works, but researchers do know that some synthetic cannabinoids bind more strongly than marijuana to cell receptors affected by THC. In other words, Spice’s side effects can be stronger and more unpredictable than people realize. Moreover, the chemical composition of K2 often changes from batch to batch, with some likely containing substances that can intensify the drug’s side effects.
Some common Spice drug effects include:
- Elevated mood and sense of well-being
- Altered perception, meaning altered awareness of surroundings
- Symptoms of psychosis, such as delusional or disorganized think that’s detached from reality
- Extreme anxiety
- Paranoia, such as extreme or unreasonable distrust of others
- Hallucinations, sensing or seeing things that aren’t real
- Increased heart rate
- Violent behavior
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Determining the duration of Spice drug side effects can be tricky. While researchers know that the effects of JWH-018 last for 1 to 2 hours, and the effects of CP 47 and 497-C8 last for 5 to 6 hours, less is known about the various ingredients in K2. While the high may wear off within a few hours, other side effects may persist. For instance, side effects of Spice can last up to 6 hours after use, including symptoms like rapid heart rate, increased appetite, hallucinations, and dry mouth. Severe symptoms of K2 overdose or intoxication, such as hallucinations, vomiting, or high blood pressure, require immediate medical attention.
How Long Does a K2 High Last?
Because the drug contains so many different ingredients, it’s hard to say how long you may stay high on Spice. However, some studies have summed up that a K2 high can last anywhere from 1 to 8 hours, but that’s not always the case. Some studies have shown that an intense Spice high can last anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes.1 The use of fake weed alters the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, and motivation, creating a harmful cycle of use. Like other drugs, K2 can also create a pleasurable high that motivates users to keep using, leading to dependence and addiction.
Luckily, help is available. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania offers K2 addiction treatment that incorporates individual and group therapy efforts to aid in the patient’s recovery. Additionally, before we help clients, we perform a clinical assessment to determine which treatment plan is right for them. If you or someone you know has a K2 addiction, our Clearbrook rehab in PA can help.
How Long Does Spice Stay in Your System?
How long K2 stays in your system depends on the drug’s half-life or how long it takes for 50% of a drug to be eliminated from your body. The half-life of K2 or Spice is up to 41 days. Unlike other drugs that may be quickly metabolized, Spice can be stored in your body’s fatty tissue. This means that while Spice effects may have worn off, this may still be detected in your system. But does K2 show up on a drug test? Yes, there are actually several kinds of K2 drug tests that are sold through private companies, and some larger labs, such as Quest Diagnostics, are making efforts to include designer drug and synthetic drug testing in their drug test panels.
Depending on the type of drug test you’re using, K2 can stay in your system anywhere between 24 hours to over a year. Again, K2 drug test results depend on the drug test being used, how much K2 the person used or uses, how frequently they use it, as well as their metabolism, body fat percentage, age, and more. K2 detection times are as follows:
- Urine: Spice/K2 can be detected in urine for 2 to 3 days after being smoked and ten days after oral consumption.
- Blood: K2 can be detected in blood for up to 30 days after use.
- Hair: Like other illicit drugs, K2 can be detected in hair for up to 90 days or more after one use.
- Saliva: Although testing the presence of K2 in a person’s system via saliva is possible, the detection window is only a few hours. When you take into consideration that most people smoke this drug, oral concentrations of it are usually low and decline rapidly.
Although there are several ways to test for Spice, the most common K2 drug tests are urine tests. These come in strips that are immersed directly into the urine sample. A person who’s taking a urine test for Spice will be positive if the test sample contains at least 25 nanograms of traces of synthetic cannabinoids per milliliter of urine.
The bottom line is that K2/Spice effects are dangerous and unpredictable. This drug is significantly stronger than marijuana despite the many claims that it’s a safer alternative. If you’re struggling with a K2 addiction and need help with recovery, Clearbrook Pennsylvania offers a medical detox that helps you slowly wean off of the drug. During detox, we also monitor any withdrawal symptoms that may occur.
- NIH – Cocaine Drug Facts