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Photo of synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoids, were first introduced in 2004 in England and is one of the many so-called designer drugs. Synthetic marijuana is sprayed onto the actual marijuana plant. By 2008 it was being sold in the U.S under the brand name Spice. Since then, several other types of synthetic cannabinoids have been produced and marketed, with grave consequences. Spice was introduced as a mix of herbs laced with synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana). There are over 700 synthetic cannabinoids and Spice can be laced with any one or a mixture of synthetic cannabinoids.

K-2 is another brand of synthetic marijuana and was first sold in the U.S. shortly after Spice was introduced. Following the introduction of K-2 and Spice, other brand names for synthetic marijuana, or “fake” marijuana, were introduced, such as; Bombay Blue, Genie, Sohai, and Bliss). At their time its introduction, synthetic marijuana was not a controlled substance. Only after its identification and proper research, was Spice and others placed on the controlled substances list by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Because of its initial legality, easy access, and false reports of synthetic marijuana being safe, the use of it increased rapidly. Not long after, reports of profound consequences of and addiction to synthetic marijuana surfaced. A synthetic drug addiction follows the same pattern of other drug addictions and alcoholism. However, the negative effects of Spice and K-2 seemed to surpass those of even marijuana itself.


  • Violent behavior
  • Confusion
  • Sexual violence
  • Heart failure due to low blood flow to heart muscle
  • Kidney failure
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Tremor
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Poor appetite
  • Suicidal and homicidal thoughts and actions

An addiction to Spice or K-2 can lead to long-term damage to the synthetic marijuana (fake pot) user’s mental and psychological health. The person addicted to Spice can experience hallucinations, fear, and paranoia months after the last use.

Spice can be rolled into cigarette paper and smoked, but it is not uncommon to smoke this disturbing substance in an e-cigarette through vaping. Fortunately, the DEA has banned hundreds of synthetic marijuana (THC) compounds. However, this hasn’t stopped the production, importation or distribution of the chemicals.


A dual diagnosis inpatient or residential drug and alcohol rehab is a must for those who have become addicted to Spice. Because of the serious mental and physical health consequences, a facility with a strong psychiatric component is optimal. It is not uncommon for one to use opiates, benzos, or alcohol concurrently with Spice and K-2. It is just plain dangerous to use synthetic marijuana and even more dangerous when combined with other substances. Every synthetic marijuana addict should be evaluated for mental health issues, physical health concerns and co-addictions when undergoing treatment in a drug detox or drug rehab.

Behavioral Wellness and Recovery can answer your questions regarding Spice and K-2 and provide referrals to an appropriate facility.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

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