Spice is a brand of synthetic marijuana brand. It’s made from dried herbal mixtures and chemicals which produce marijuana-like effects. Although many like to view it as the ‘safer alternative’ to marijuana, the reality is Spice can be quite dangerous in the long run. But, even at first time use or with short term use, Spice is never a safe drug.
What are the long term effects of Spice? Can long term use of synthetic marijuana damage your health permanently? In this article we cover the possible long term effects of Spice. At the end we invite you to send us your questions in the designated section at the bottom of the page.
Long term effects of Spice use
Spice is a relatively new drug. The long-term effects on humans have not been researched or scientifically recorded, due to the lack of time for longitudinal studies. Still, the reported effects of synthetic marijuana can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Many of Spice’s side effects can be worse than those of real marijuana. There is a growing number of synthetic marijuana induced toxicity, but additional analysis is needed in order to determine how toxic it actually can be. Reports suggest that long term Spice users are likely to exhibit symptoms of withdrawal and addiction, and face an increased risk of heart attack.
Long term effects of Spice on the brain
The chemicals found in Spice and the THC found in marijuana have a tendency to attach to the same brain receptors. While both chemicals are considered cannabinoids can produce similar mind-altering effects, the difference is in their potency. The chemicals found in Spice, especially the JWH-018, bind more strongly to cannabinoid receptors as opposed to THC. As a result they cause more potent, long lasting high, and more severe side effects.
Besides mind-altering effects, Spice can bring about psychological changes and make individuals behave in a way that is harmful for themselves and the environment. Most common adverse effects of Spice on the brain include:
- panic attacks
- psychotic episodes
- suicidal thoughts
Long term effects of Spice on the body
What are the long term effects of Spice on the body? There are a number of short-term side effects associated with Spice use that could be potentially dangerous in the long run. Most common physical side effects of Spice include:
- chest pains
- heart palpitations
- tachypnea (abnormally rapid breathing)
These effects usually vanish within a couple of hours as Spice effects diminish, without any residual side effects. But, individuals with preexisting health conditions are at far greater risk of serious consequences. Even for healthy Spice users, long term exposure can lead to consequences such as heart attack.
Long term effects of Spice on a fetus
There is a lack of research to show how Spice use could affect a developing fetus. But, since marijuana and Spice have similar effects, it follows that there is possibility for children of Spice addicted parents to experience:
- attention impairment
- language difficulties
- learning problems
- behavioral issues
Still, there is a need for a thorough research in order to justify this claim.
Long term effects of Spice abuse
Due to the fact that there are over 100 types of synthetic cannaboid compounds available, it is almost impossible to determine how dangerous a batch of Spice can be. What’s more, it is still impossible to determine which active ingredients are present in a batch making it even more hard to tell its harmful long term effects.
But if we look for clues with marijuana as it targets the same brain receptors, it could be speculated that Spice abuse could increase the chances for schizophrenia and psychosis and reduce certain brain functions.
Long term effects of Spice addiction
Due to the lack of research, it is hard to say how exactly could Spice addiction affect you in the long run. But, some prediction can be made considering the fact that most active chemicals often found in Spice are Schedule I substances. Plus, a German research study has suggested that synthetic marijuana use can lead to “withdrawal symptoms and addictive behaviors.” So it is safe to say that Spice has a high addictive potential.
Although many believe Spice use is less harmful than real marijuana, they are still at danger when they try to quit Spice after they have developed an addiction or used the drug long term. Spice withdrawal effects can be unpleasant and unpredictable, and unfortunately – fatal. Here is what chronic Spice users report during withdrawal:
- extreme sweating
- inability to sleep
- intense cravings
- loss of appetite
- kidney failure or damage
Can Spice long term effects damage you permanently?
Spice use is associated with a number of side effect, yet a further analysis is needed in order to fully understand how damaging it actually is. Despite the need for further research, conditions such as kidney damage, kidney failure, lung damage, liver damage, heart attack, brain injury, etc. are permanent and cannot be reversed.
Long term effects of Spice questions
Do you still have questions regarding the long term effects of Spice use? Please, post your questions in the designated section below and we will try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate enquiries. If we don’t know the answer to your question we will refer you to professionals who can help.
Reference sources: NIDA: Synthetic Cannabinoids
NIDA for Teens: Spice: “If You Use It, You’re Experimenting on Yourself”
FBI: Synthetic Marijuana
Daina L. Wells and Carol A. Ott, New Annals of Pharmacotherapy 45, no. 3 (2011): 414-417.
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