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Long Term Effects of Spice Abuse

Long Term Effects of Spice Abuse

Spice abuse is a serious problem. There are both short term and long term effects of Spice abuse and it’s important to educate yourself about this.

What is Spice?

Spice, or synthetic marijuana, has many other street names. It’s referred to as herbal incense, fake pot, or by any of its brand names, such as K2 and Mr. Nice Guy, just to name a few.

At the height of its popularity, Spice was thought of as a synthetic – and legal – version of marijuana but, it’s really quite different from real pot and more dangerous as its effects are much more unpredictable. The added danger was that there was no real way to regulate safety and potency from batch to batch, just like with other illicit street drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. The fact that it was legal was more of a temporary loophole than because it was somehow safer than other street drugs.

Long Term Effects of Spice Abuse: Psychosis

Spice is a relatively new drug but the research on its safety or lack thereof, is clear. Synthetic cannabis has been linked to psychosis – a break with reality marked by hallucinations and delusions – and in some cases, the long term effects of Spice abuse is prolonged psychosis. That is, there are some studies that suggest that Spice intoxication is associated with acute psychosis – a temporary episode – to exacerbating an already-established yet stable psychotic disorder, to triggering a chronic, that is long-term, psychotic disorder. There have also been reports of long term damage to mental health status with continuing hallucinations appearing after several months of trying the drug.

Long Term Effects of Spice Abuse: Anxiety

There are many side effects from smoking Spice that can be the same or worse than those of real marijuana. These include increased and severe anxiety and paranoia. Other negative side effects of Spice abuse include increased heart rate, feelings of agitation, vomiting, seizures, uncontrollable body movements, lack of emotional attachment, sweating and loss of control, blood-shot eyes and dry mouth. All of which can increase anxiety and exacerbate a preexisting anxiety disorder or cause panic.

Long Term Effects of Spice Abuse: Organ Damage

Spice abuse also causes reduced blood flow to the heart, a medical condition called myocardial ischemia, which lead to heart attack. This is also one of the long term effects of Spice abuse as it can cause damage to the heart and its cellular structures. Spice has also been implicated in several cases of kidney failure.

Long Term Effects of Spice Abuse: Death

Reactions from smoking Spice can also be fatal in some cases. Death can occur after smoking just once, or may happen after many experiences with the drug. Besides physical reactions to the drug from Spice abuse that can precipitate death, Spice can also lead to fatal outcomes due to its impact on the user’s mental state. Both regular and one-time Spice users described hallucinations, suicidal and homicidal thoughts and actions, and an intense fear and paranoia. There are several cases where synthetic marijuana has been implicated in deaths from suicide, or by accidental means.

If you or someone you love is struggling with Spice abuse or other substance abuse and addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

No More Mr. Nice Guy? The Rise and Fall of One of the Biggest Names in Synthetic Marijuana

No More Mr. Nice Guy? The Rise and Fall of One of the Biggest Names in Synthetic Marijuana

Manufacturers of the once hugely popular Mr. Nice Guy synthetic marijuana product are at it again. And they’re back in the news. Now that synthetic marijuana has officially been made illegal, the company behind Mr. Nice Guy is pushing a new product: this time, it’s a drink by the name of Relaxinol, which claims to relax its users at the end of a hard day’s work.

Despite their past legal troubles, it states on the Mr. Nice Guy website, “We are back and here to stay, you could say with a vengence [sic].”

Back in August of last year, the two men who ran Kratom Lab, based in West Palm Beach, John Shealey, 40, and Dylan Harrison, 32, received reduced prison sentences before a courtroom packed with supporters.

Shealey  was sentenced to 18 months behind bars, while his business partner, Dylan Harrison, received a prison term of a year and a day. Prosecutors had been requesting sentences at least twice as long for both men.

Shealey and Harrison cut deals with federal prosecutors, with each man agreeing to plead guilty to a count of conspiring to break federal laws. They admitted that they plotted to distribute an illegal substance as well as admitting to selling a misbranded drug.

As part of their plea deals, Shealey agreed to pay a $2.2 million, forfeit $745,000 in cash and give up four vehicles he had purchased with profits from the sale of synthetic marijuana: two sports cars and two SUVs. Harrison agreed to forfeit more than $2 million in assets, including the $850,000 Intercoastal Waterway home that he bought outright with cash.

The U.S. Department of Drug Administration estimated that the synthetic marijuana industry had netted about $5 billion in 2011; Mr. Nice Guy being at the forefront of the industry. Federal prosecutors have said Kratom Lab was one of the largest synthetic marijuana operations in the entire country.

Fake pot or “Spice,” such as K2 and Mr. Nice Guy, was responsible for more than 11,000 emergency room visits nationwide in 2010, with users experiencing side effects that included rapid heart rate, nausea, seizures, renal failure and psychotic episodes.

There is great irony in the Mr. Nice Guy story. In one of his court hearings, co-owner Harrison admitted that he had received treatment in the past for heroin and steroid addictions and acknowledged that, “Being a drug addict, I know the pain drugs cause.”

And the other co-owner, Shealey, vowed that he would focus on making the world a better place.

And yet, with their new product, one can only think that they’re at it again. Relaxinol, a product that promises a relaxing effect, contains a laundry list of ingredients that are not subject to FDA approval because it is a so-called dietary supplement, according to

There is a disclaimer on the Relaxinol can that informs its consumers that the product has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

However, manufacturers of dietary supplements are required by the FDA to apply labels that are truthful and not misleading. In addition, they are required by law to report “all serious adverse event reports” associated with their product to the FDA.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Substance Showdown: Marijuana vs. Spice

Substance Showdown: Marijuana v Spice

Marijuana and Spice (synthetic marijuana) are interchangeable, right? At least that’s what I used to think. When I ran out of marijuana and couldn’t get ahold of my dealer, I would run to the gas station and buy a pouch of Spice. It was still legal at the time. I figured, “this will hold me over til I can get the real stuff.” I noticed that smoking Spice was more potent than pot: my ‘high’ was higher, and so was my anxiety. Let’s take a closer look at each of these substances to see which one is worse or, more harmful. We will look at three categories of comparison and choose a winner for each. The substance that “wins” more rounds will be declared the winner and, therefore, the one that is more dangerous.

Marijuana vs. Spice: Let the substance showdown begin!




  • Distorted perceptions
  • impaired coordination
  • difficulty with thinking and problem solving
  • disrupted learning and memory
  • temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia)
  • anxiety,
  • suicidal thoughts among adolescents
  • personality disturbances
  • lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities



Frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers:

  • daily cough and phlegm production
  • more frequent acute chest illness
  • heightened risk of lung infections

Withdrawal symptoms:

  • irritability
  • sleeplessness
  • decreased appetite
  • anxiety
  • drug craving




Some cases the effects are even stronger than those of marijuana.

  • elevated mood, relaxation, and altered perception
  • extreme anxiety
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations


Spice abusers who have been taken to Poison Control Centers report symptoms that include:

  • rapid heart rate
  • vomiting
  • agitation
  • confusion,
  • hallucinations
  • raised blood pressure and cause
  • reduced blood supply to the heart
  • heart attacks (in a few cases)

Personally, I have witnessed someone having a seizure after smoking Spice. It was scary and alarming.

Withdrawal symptoms:

Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction symptoms similar to those of marijuana users.

The WINNER of ROUND 1 is SPICE because it clearly causes many more serious health effects than marijuana does.



On December 6, 2012, the U.S. state of Washington became the first state to officially legalize cannabis in a state law (but still illegal by federal law), with the state of Colorado following close behind. The California Supreme Court decided in May 2013 that local governments can ban medical marijuana dispensaries despite a state law in California that permits the use of cannabis for medical purposes. At least 180 cities across California and the Bay Area have enacted bans in recent years. Eighteen states have either decriminalized or allowed medical marijuana in some fashion. While the state laws have allowed dispensaries to open, they remain illegal under federal law. The gap between state and federal laws is widening when it comes to marijuana enforcement.

For instance, state law makes it legal to possess marijuana in Washington State, but selling drugs is still a federal crime. There is a similar situation in California, where medical marijuana is allowed, but again, growers don’t have the same legal protections that users have.


Spice is illegal to sell, possess, and use. On July 10, 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 into law. It banned synthetic compounds commonly found in synthetic marijuana, placing them under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Spice manufacturers get around the ban by continually changing up the chemicals used to make it. Also, Spice is labeled “not for human consumption,” which helps manufacturers avoid the federal Analog Act, under which any substance “substantially similar” to a banned drug is deemed illegal if it is intended for consumption.

The WINNER of ROUND 2 is SPICE because it is illegal to consume and has no known medical uses, unlike marijuana. However, it is important to note that the legality of marijuana is unclear: while some states have OK’d the use of marijuana, federal law still prohibits it. Therefore, you may think you are within your legal rights to possess and/or use marijuana only to find yourself being arrested because federal law supersedes state law.



Because it is all natural, many people believe that there are no health effects whatsoever related to using pot. This isn’t necessarily so. Just like any medicinal herb, the effects, if any, vary from person to person. Currently, marijuana is becoming legal in certain areas of the country yet, without federal backing, its potency is unregulated and therefore, you never know what you’re gonna get. Also, you may be getting a product that is not all-natural; there could be additives and again, without across-the-board regulation policy, this is a very real possibility.

Another insidious aspect to marijuana is that, although some people don’t know it, you can become addicted to marijuana after using it for a while. This is more likely to happen to people who use marijuana every day, or who started using it when they were teenagers.


Easy access and the misperception that Spice products are “natural” and therefore harmless have likely contributed to their popularity. Another selling point is that the chemicals used in Spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests. Labels on Spice products often claim that they contain “natural” psycho-active material taken from a variety of plants. Spice products do contain dried plant material, but chemical analyses show that their active ingredients are synthetic. Some of the compounds found in Spice, however, bind more strongly to those receptors, which could lead to a much more powerful and unpredictable effect. Because the chemical composition of many products sold as Spice is unknown, it is likely that some varieties also contain substances that could cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect.

ROUND 3 Ends in a DRAW because with Spice, you never know what to expect when you use it. The combination of chemicals is often unknown and attempts to regulate it have been difficult because manufacturers have stayed one step ahead of the law by constantly changing the chemicals. And on the other hand, you have marijuana which is sort of legal and not always regulated. It is also insidious in that people often do not realize the long term effects of marijuana and that it can, indeed, be addictive.


Because of its mental and physical side effects, illegality, and insidiousness, Spice is a much more dangerous drug.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for Marijuana or Spice Addiction, please call us at 800-951-6135.



In the News: DEA Cracks Down on Designer Drugs

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials on Wednesday announced the results of the “largest-ever” synthetic drug takedown, a bust that included suspects in 35 states and five countries. Agents working in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies served more than 150 arrest warrants. More than 770 pounds of synthetic drugs have been seized in the last three days, the DEA said. It’s become increasingly common, in recent years, for young people to search for legal ways to get high. Manufacturers of synthetic, “legal” drugs like spice and bath salts are raking in the cash by responding to that demand, and law enforcement officials are struggling to respond to the flood of legal drugs on the market.  The problem is that these so-called legal drugs can be highly dangerous, and young people around the country are being hospitalized for bad reactions to these “legal” highs. Wednesday also happened to be the same day a UN report was released which highlighted the growing problem with designer drugs. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said, “This is an alarming drug problem – but the drugs are legal,” it said. “Sold openly, including via the Internet, NPS (new psychoactive substances), which have not been tested for safety, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs.” Names including “spice”, “meow-meow” and “bath salts” mislead young people into believing they are indulging in low-risk fun, UNODC said.  However, “the adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood”, the agency said in an annual survey. Here are the some of the most popular legal ways to get high: 1. “Spice”- Legal pot or synthetic marijuana is known as Spice, K2, Genie Silver and Yucatan Fire. It is sold as “incense” and labeled “not for human consumption.” These herbal mixtures are infused with chemicals that activate the same receptors as marijuana. The side effects, however, are much more drastic. Smoking legal pot can produce a strong high as well as psychosis, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and even death. The American Association of Poison Control has observed over a 50% increase in calls related to legal pot this year compared to last. 2. “Bath Salts”- Bath salts are sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” Because formulations of bath salts change so often in an attempt to keep ahead of laws prohibiting their manufacture, very little is known about the chemical makeup of the drug. What we do know is that bath salts contain synthetic stimulant drugs of the amphetamine and cathinone classes, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone.   Many bath salt users compare their effects to methamphetamine. These drugs are typically administered orally, by insufflation, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration. Law enforcement officials are alarmed at the effects of these drugs, which have been known to cause paranoia and intense hallucinations. Emergency room personnel report that patients who have ingested bath salts are so highly agitated and violent that they sometimes require a whole medical team to restrain them. Sometimes even powerful sedatives are not sufficient in calming these people down. Bath started turning up regularly in the United States last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects. 3. “Meow-meow”- “Meow meow” and “MCAT” are street names for the drug mephedrone. Mephedrone is a drug that is of the amphetamine and cathione classes. Its effects are similar to cocaine, amphetamine, and MDMA. The effects come on in a head rush and it can make you feel nauseous. Generally, the effects of one dose last about 2-3 hours. Common side effects include a racing heart, paranoia, and intense hallucinations. Teeth grinding is also very common. Mephedrone comes in the form of tablets or powder which can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected. Almost nothing is known about the long-term effects of these designer drugs.  The lethal dose is unknown, and there is no information regarding the potential neurotoxicity of designer drug use. However, based on the studies that have been performed on similar substances, scientists say that it is highly likely that designer drugs have neurotoxic effects. If you or someone you love is using designer drugs, please give us a call at 800-951-6135 Sources:

In the News: CITGO Halts Spice “K2” Sales

K2 also known as Spice, Genie Silver and Yucatan Fire is a legal synthetic form of marijuana. It is sold as “incense” and labeled “not for human consumption.”  These herbal mixtures are infused with chemicals that activate the same receptors as marijuana. Smoking K2 can produce a strong high as well as psychosis, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and even death. The American Association of Poison Control has observed over a 50% increase in calls related to K2 this year compared to last. Synthetic pot related deaths have also spiked in recent months.

In good news, CITGO has issued a notice to halt the sale of Spice, also known as K2, in all of its’ gas stations effective immediately.  K2 and Spice are synthetic forms of marijuana that have become the new drug of choice amongst teenagers.  Because K2 and Spice are legal and sold at almost every gas station and convenience stores across the nation, it’s hard to fight against and prevent its abuse. It’s shocking but exciting to see a large corporation take a stand and in essence say, “We see it’s a problem and we’re going to do something to stop it”.

General Manager of light oils marketing for CITGO stated in his letter to all local owned CITGO stations:

“Substances such as synthetic marijuana and Bath Salts, sold under a variety of names, including Spice and K2, have proven to be harmful substances, especially for teenagers…At least 40 states have banned their sale in some form and legislation is pending in other states. Clearly, the sale of these substances creates a negative image that is disparaging to the CITGO brand and the many individual identities that your retail locations have in their communities…Therefore, the sale of these substances in a CITGO-branded location is prohibited under our Marketer Franchise Agreement (the “MFA”)…Should sales of these substances at CITGO-branded locations continue after the date of this letter, CITGO may take such action as it deems appropriate to protect its brand image, including de-branding the location.”

Oakland county officials have also joined in the fight against the sale of spice (K2) by planning to send deputies to local gas stations and convenience stores to ask owners to halt sales and put up signs that state, “This Establishment Pledges Not to Sell K2 or Any Other Synthetic Designer Drugs.” Oakland county officials cite that spice might have a connection to two local homicides, rising concern about the effects of the synthetic drug and the safety of their community.

“Until we can get a new law banning them, the best weapon to fight this is for consumers to refuse to frequent places that sell these dangerous and potentially dangerous products”. – Oakland County Sheriff, Michael Bouchard –

The fight against K2 is just beginning and we’re hopeful it will be banned and labeled as illegal soon. If you or a loved one needs treatment for K2 or Spice drug abuse, call our crisis counselors at 877-711-4673 now. They are available to help you recover from K2 and Spice drug abuse 24/7.






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