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Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, Spice, fake weed, or synthetic cannabinoids, is a chemically modified version of the herbal substance that produces mind-altering side effects similar to or stronger than marijuana (cannabis). The chemicals in Spice are meant to mimic the effects of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). K2 can be smoked, made into edibles and eaten, or prepared in drinks. Because this drug is similar to marijuana, many people wonder if Spice addiction is possible. Let’s take a closer look.


K2 Effects

Spice is made of synthetic cannabinoids, or man-made chemicals that produce mind-altering side effects. Most of the chemicals in K2 are manufactured in Asia with no regulations or standards. They’re then smuggled into the United States, where people spray them onto shredded plant material and paper to be smoked or vaporize them as liquids in e-cigarettes and vape pens. As you may have noticed, “cannabinoids” sounds a lot like “cannabis” because they’re similar to chemicals found in marijuana.


However, not only are K2 and marijuana different, but K2 is also more dangerous. Some common K2 symptoms or side effects include:


  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Paleness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling


K2 drug abuse can also cause an overdose. Spice abuse can cause overdose symptoms like agitation, anxiety, seizures, coma, stroke, and death by heart attack or organ failure. Acute kidney injury is also a common side effect of long-term K2 abuse. Overdose usually occurs when users take multiple doses of drugs in a short period. A medically monitored detox can reduce your risk of overdose and help you quit possible drug addiction.


Can You Get Addicted to Synthetic Weed?

While they may seem similar, Spice and marijuana are not the same. This is a common false advertisement, which is why K2 is also called “fake weed.” While they’re marketed as safe alternatives, they’re actually even more dangerous because they contain a variety of synthetic chemicals. In 2016, President Obama signed a law that permanently placed 26 synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones in the Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act.1 This means that they have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse and addiction. This means, basically, yes, you can get addicted to synthetic weed.


Signs of Spice Use

Since Spice addiction is possible, a K2 addict will eventually exhibit certain behavioral and psychological signs. As we talked about before, long-term K2 use can increase your risk not only of addiction but also of overdosing. Therefore, knowing the signs of Spice addiction is important for catching the problem as quickly as possible and helping the person find inpatient drug treatment.


Symptoms of K2 use include:


  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Slowed speech
  • Catatonic behavior (lack of movement or communication)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Chest pains
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Impaired memory
  • Out-of-body feeling
  • Episodes of depression
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Frequent agitation, confusion, and/or restlessness


No matter the addiction, Clearbrook Treatment Centers Massachusetts is available to help. Not only do we offer synthetic marijuana addiction treatment to help people with K2 addictions, but we also provide drug treatment for substances ranging from alcohol to ecstasy. To learn more about our Massachusetts drug rehab programs, call us anytime at 570-536-9621.


Related Reading:

How Long Does K2 Stay in Your System?

Dangers of Marijuana Laced with Fentanyl



  1. Obama White House – Synthetic Drugs (a.k.a. K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc.)
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