Arguably, K2 withdrawal and detox is one of the most difficult parts of the addiction recovery process. K2, or Spice, is synthetic marijuana and can be dangerous or even fatal to ingest through smoking. The severity of Spice withdrawal depends on a number of factors. Making sure the K2/Spice detox program goes as smoothly and as safely as possible is of the utmost importance. There are many different potential withdrawal symptoms associated with using K2/Spice. Some of these can be extremely dangerous while other symptoms may be simply uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of scientific literature that focuses on how to best treat individuals with addiction to synthetic marijuana. Nevertheless, understanding the K2/Spice withdrawal timeline and different options for detoxing can help direct an individual toward the treatment that is right for them.
K2/Spice Withdrawal Symptoms
What are typical K2 spice withdrawal symptoms? The side effects of K2 withdrawal may be different for everyone. Some side effects will be physical while others can affect a person’s behavior. It is first helpful to understand the negative side effects associated with natural marijuana use in relation to synthetic marijuana. Natural marijuana is associated with negative side effects including:
- Marijuana Side Effects
Episodes of psychosis
Delusional or disorganized thinking
Feeling detached or disconnected from reality
Problems with thinking or memory
Schizophrenia relapse or onset
Even worse, the negative side effects of synthetic marijuana use can include:
- Synthetic Marijuana Side Effects
Violent tendencies or behaviors
Increased heart rate
Even more severe psychotic episodes than natural marijuana
Severe stomach upset (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea)
Unlike natural marijuana, synthetic marijuana products are significantly more dangerous, including their withdrawal symptoms. In some circumstances, it is difficult to distinguish the side effects of K2 use from withdrawal symptoms as symptoms occur rapidly after smoking.
Typical physical Spice drug withdrawal symptoms include:
- K2/Spice Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Abnormal heart rate
Pain in the chest
Changes in appetite
Some psychological or behavioral symptoms of Spice withdrawal include:
- K2/Spice Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
Anxiety or depression
Cravings for K2/Spice
Changes in behavior
Unable to stop thinking
K2/Spice Withdrawal Timeline
Beyond the negative side effects or withdrawal symptoms associated with K2/Spice use, how long is withdrawal from Spice? There has not been much research conducted on the effects of synthetic marijuana or the length of withdrawal. One reason is that there are many different synthetic cannabinoid compounds that are found in K2/Spice products. Thus, determining the side effects of each compound or a combination of compounds is not currently feasible. Additionally, the formulations of these drugs change over time making it even more difficult to analyze. Based on current data, these compounds are generally detected for up to 2-3 days in a person’s system. This indicates that the compound is metabolized relatively quickly by the body.
What does this mean as far as the Spice withdrawal timeline? This timeline may vary among individuals and can depend on the frequency and dose of K2/Spice. Furthermore, individuals who mix K2/Spice with other drugs, will effectively increase or slow down the metabolism of synthetic cannabinoids, depending on the drug. Again, how long does K2 withdrawal last? According to one study, it can take as little as 15 minutes to develop withdrawal symptoms after daily use. Thus, it is likely that K2/Spice withdrawal lasts typically from a few hours to days, and in rare cases, it may last a week or more.
Because synthetic weed withdrawal symptoms develop so quickly after smoking K2/Spice, detoxing may be particularly difficult. Individuals who have a preference about their K2/Spice detox may choose to detox at home, at a facility or with or without medication. Drugs from the benzodiazepine drug class (e.g. diazepam) can be prescribed to individuals actively withdrawing from K2/Spice. Benzodiazepines are often a first-line treatment for withdrawal symptoms, meaning they are the first medication given to individuals. Other than benzodiazepines, some antipsychotic medications are effective at easing withdrawal symptoms.
In addition, the medication naltrexone, an opioid blocker, has been reported to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms from K2/Spice. Depending on the type of detox that a patient chooses in conjunction with their medical team, the Spice detox time will vary. For individuals who smoke K2/Spice daily or more frequently, the withdrawal process is arguably more challenging and it is highly recommended that these individuals detox at a facility rather than at home.
Detox at Home
Some individuals may wonder how to detox from Spice in the most efficient and cheapest way possible. More than likely, detoxing from K2/Spice at home without any prescribed medication to ease withdrawal symptoms is the cheapest way to detox. However, most addiction specialists advise against home detox unless a person has a strong support system to monitor them very closely during the detoxification process.
Because withdrawal can happen as early as 15 minutes after smoking, the cravings are often so severe that individuals feel they need to smoke K2/Spice to avoid such uncomfortable symptoms. In other words, the chances of relapsing when detoxing at home are much higher than at a facility. Further, it is unlikely that a medical professional will prescribe medication for an at-home detox.
A recommended and safe K2 withdrawal treatment is known as the medical detox. Because individuals who choose a medical detox are usually required to stay at a medical facility, they are sufficiently monitored over the course of their withdrawal and detoxification period. Medical professionals can prescribe a variety of Spice withdrawal treatments depending on the state of the patient and the severity of their withdrawal.
Medications that are often prescribed to individuals who struggle with heavy K2/Spice use may include:
- K2/Spice Detox Medications
Finding a K2/Spice Detox Center
Finally, how can an individual choose the right drug detox center in Florida? Choosing the right facility can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are many different South Florida detox centers that individuals or their loved ones can research. Sometimes it is helpful to write a list of pros and cons about each facility or rank attributes from low to high priority. In this way, families can decide how to help an individual find the best treatment for their K2/Spice addiction. Some considerations when choosing a rehab facility include:
- Decide on short and long-term goals
- Assess how close the facility is to one’s home
- Determine the cost of the facility and whether insurance subsidizes any of that cost
- Determine whether the facility specializes in marijuana or synthetic marijuana addiction
- Assess whether the staff are kind and courteous
- Determine if the rehab facilities have amenities (like swimming, yoga, gym, etc.)
- Weigh priorities
Do you or a loved one struggle with K2/Spice addiction and are wondering the best way to go about detoxing? Contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to discuss detox options. A representative can questions about the recovery process, how to schedule a facility tour and more information about the additional rehabilitation programs we offer.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Synthetic Cannabinoids: An Overview for Healthcare Providers.” April 24, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Cooper, Ziva. “Adverse Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids: Management of Acute Toxicity and Withdrawal.” Curr Psychiatry Rep., May 2016. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Rodgman, Christopher. “Inpatient Detoxification From a Synthetic Cannabinoid and Control of Postdetoxification Cravings With Naltrexone.” Prim Care Companion CNS Disord., August 16, 2014. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Samaan, John. “Synthetic Cannabis Overdose and Withdrawal in a Young Adult: A Case Report, Commentary on Regulation, and Review of the Literature.” Case Rep Psychiatry. September 29, 2016. Accessed October 25, 2019.