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K-2, Spice and Synthetic Marijuana – Epidemic

By: Rachael On: 10-20-2012 Category: Addiction Treatment, Drug Rehab

Synthetic marijuana, often sold as K2 or Spice, is a potentially lethal drug that is currently legal and sold at head shops and over the internet all over the world.  I have been in the addiction treatment for over 13 years and have never seen such a devastating drug as K2/Spice.  When I was working at one treatment facility, there was a Spice/K2 epidemic and at one time over 50% of the clients at this treatment facility were smoking Spice/K2.  I confiscated pounds of the drug from patients and after each time I asked the patient what the effects of the drug were like and they said that it felt just like marijuana but more powerful.  I also noticed that patients coming off of the drug experienced horrible side effects.

SIDE EFFECTS OF K2 and SPICE:  What to look for:

From direct observation and interviews I have found that after the effects of SPICE/K2 wear off,  the person experiences extreme agitation.  They appear to have a hangover.  They are visibly sick.  In fact, uncharacteristic agitation is one of the telltale signs that a person is using SPICE/K2.  After a while, it was easy to tell which patients had smoked SPICE/K2 the night before.  It is also visibly noticeable when a person is on Spice/K2.  The person will look high.  Because the drug is so powerful, the effects are hard to mask.

At one point during the SPICE EPIDEMIC one of our staff members, who did not have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, decided to try SPICE and see what it felt like.  One weekend night he smoked the drug and reported back to me that the drug caused him to feel “extremely messed up.”  This staff member had smoked marijuana before and said that it was much more powerful than any marijuana he had smoked in the past.


Just a few months ago, the first labs in the United States developed a test for SPICE/K2.  Redwood Labs can test urine for the presence of SPICE/K2 in urine, but the test has to be requested.  Developing a relatively cheap and effective test for SPICE/K2 was the first dent in the growing SPICE/K2 epidemic that few knew about at the time.  Previously, only drug treatment facilities in the United States were aware of the growing problem of SPICE/K2.  Drug Rehabs were paralyzed for a couple years as they had no way of testing for the drug and the drug could be bought easily and cheaply.  I called the drug a Drug Rehab Killer at the time, because of its potency, availability and lack of tests to detect the presence of the drug in a person’s system.

SPICE/K2 continues to be a major problem for drug rehabs, parents and the United States, as long as it is legal.  There have been reported deaths related to K2/Spice.  SPICE/K2 does not produce the greatest high, in fact everyone I have interviewed over the years who has smoked it says they didn’t like the high it produced, and yet they continued to use it.  This of course is one of the signs that the drug is highly addictive.  Each time I caught patients smoking Spice they would swear to me that they never wanted to do it again, but they invariably would do it again.  I truly believe that the patients wanted to stop smoking Spice, because at the time I was providing immunity for patients who were using Spice.  I had no way to test for it and it could be easily purchased for little money, so at the time, I had to concede defeat.  Each patient who had smoked Spice wanted to stop smoking spice, but they soon found they could not stop.  That was when I realized the addictiveness of the drug.

Since becoming a self-educated expert on the drug Spice I have talked to numerous media reporters, parents and people struggling with this silently deadly drug.  I can already see the progression of this drug.  It is produced in China and once it is made illegal in the future, it will be sold on the black market and become a big money maker for illegally minded entrepreneurs.  If you or someone you know has a problem with SPICE, K2, or synthetic marijuana, please feel free to email me with any questions you might have.  If you have a son or daughter who is on the drug, email me and I may be able to help.


Brendan Bickley, A.S., B.A., C.A.T.S., CADC II, CSS, ICADC, ICCS, PsyD (Intern)

Tags: , , , , , , , 10 Responses
  1. nicole says:

    i have tried k2 “spice” recently and it was sooooo scarey i thought i was seriously going to die i will never do it again when you smoke it it will make you have halluanations or you die.

  2. Caleb W. says:


    You are the most under-educated self educated spice professional…

    Please do more research before posting an article full of theories and bad facts.

    Yes, spice is horrible for you. There is no argument there. However, with all of your credentials I thought you might go more into the manufacturing of the drug, what chemicals are added, etc.

    Just saying “k2/spice is dangerous because I heard from so and so….” doesn’t cut it. That is circumstantial evidence.

    Want some facts?

    Email me.

    • Ravi Shankar says:

      Reader: Sovereign Health is glad to provide a brief educational article on K-2/Spice as it has become a significant problem for many people. We will not be posting articles on this drug on how to manufacture the drug as we do not believe that it would be productive to our readers. If you have further questions about treatment for K2/Spice, please call our Admissions team and they can provide further answers to your questions.

  3. cody says:

    im 19 and ive been smoking spice for a year now everyday of my life. ive tried quitting but the withdrawals become to crucial to handle; vomiting, sweating, suiscidal thoughts, depression, shakes, severe heartburn, waking up randomly craving a bowl to smoke. ive became so bad i just wanna cry and scream. i really want off this stuff but no matter how hard i try i just cant. do i need to seek professional help? or is there a way i can bypass all that and just help myself. please dont judge me ill be 20 this month and this not how i want to live my life.

    • Ravi Shankar says:

      Reader: you are going to be 20. You have gone through a tender age and people tend to fall for such drugs. Now you can understand everything well about your life and your body. You have tried quitting all by yourself but certainly, it’s hard to quit as you have been into this since long duration. You need to get over this under a proper medical supervision. Then only you can get off it while controlling the withdrawals with ease. Also the effect will be long lasting with less chances of Relapse. There are programs for this as a Program called Dual Diagnosis is designed for such kind of situations where in the underlying or co-occuring Mental Health Disturbance is treated along with the Addiction with long term effects. I can have you contact with our specialists regarding this through email who will guide you the best regarding this. You can reach a live admission specialist, 24/7, by calling 866-629-0442

      • Ravi Shankar says:

        “We completely agree with this.
        There are no. of terms used for these drugs in the market such as herbal smoking blends, legal bud, herbal smoke, marijuana alternatives, fake weed or herbal buds. And these are easily sold by the names like – Blaze, Blueberry Haze, Dank, Demon Passion Smoke, Genie, Hawaiian Hybrid, K2, Magma, Ninja, Nitro, Ono Budz, Panama Red Ball, Puff, Sativah Herbal Smoke, Skunk, Spice, Ultra Chronic and Voodoo Spice.
        Fake spice/ k2 products are legal and are marketed as being “”100% organic herbs,””, and their use has grown since they were first introduced in 2002. These are misinterpreted as natural and completely safe products. Adolescents may be tempted to use the fake marijuana products because they buy into the idea that they are made up of “”natural”” ingredients, they are safe and they are legal.
        Parents and Schools must educate their children about the hazards of consuming anything that has not been tested and let them know that these fake marijuana products are anything but natural.

  4. spice kills says:

    This stuff is for the birds. Me my mother and girlfriend have been smoking it constantly for the past 4-5 months. Today a friend died due to the chemicals in spice. She was a 27 year old former heroin addict who was using this stuff because we all believed it to be relatively harmless. She started convulsing and was rushed to the hospital 4 days ago. she was in a coma.Her mother had to pull the plug on her today. Toxicology report SPICE!! This stuff is extremely dangerous. we are all quitting and would like to know if anybody has any tips to detox off this crap

    • Ravi Shankar says:

      “It is good that you got to know the facts about this drug.

      Well quitting the drug Cold Turkey can be difficult to handle because of the Withdrawals that follow especially after a prolong usage or consuming large doses.
      Detox as the term suggests is a treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous substances, is meant to be done under medical supervision. The professionals will help you cope with the withdrawals. Also the chances of relapse are considerably less with Medical Detox and Treatment.
      Though Medical Treatment should always be the preferred option. Still in case, one is opting to quit on his/her own, weaning off the drug gradually will be a wiser option.

      I can have you contact with our specialists regarding this through email who will guide you the best regarding this. You can reach a live admission specialist, 24/7, by calling 866-629-0442

  5. Diana says:

    My grandson is adhd/odd and is 14 years old. He is smoking marijuana and k2. Last night, he was so delusional and paranoid he wanted me to call a friend over to protect us as he was afraid we were going to be attacked. He finally fell asleep. His mother was bi-polar and got very addicted on drugs. I have tried everything I can to settle him down, but (1) he doesn’t feel there is anything wrong with marijuana and even though he admits k2 is dangerous I am afraid he follows his mother’s addictiveness and can’t come off either one. I need some real help. He has great sports potential and basically is a great kid but I don’t know where to turn to help him.

    • Ravi Shankar says:

      It is great that your Grandson is having good Sports Potential so first of all the family should encourage him to focus on this Positive Aspect of him. This will provide him with the correct direction and help him utilize his energy and time onto the productive things. Also this will redirect his mind away from the negativities.

      Secondly, he should get some Professional help as well for his complete recovery and avoiding any possible Relapse.

      As your grandson is suffering from ADHD/ODD along with Addictions, there is a program designed especially for such conditions called Dual Diagnosis where in both the conditions are treated simultaneously.
      You can reach a live admission specialist, 24/7, by calling 866-629-0442

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