Spice addiction

Spice is often sensationalised in the news for turning people into “zombies” or giving them superhuman strength. In reality, it is a dangerous and addictive drug that can cause many different health and social issues. If you are suffering from spice addiction, it is important to understand what it is and how to get the help you need.


Spice addiction - handful of spice

What is spice?

Spice, the street name for synthetic cannabinoids, is a wide variety of herbal mixes that contain man-made chemicals related to THC, the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. Despite misconceptions that spice is a safer alternative to cannabis, the effects of synthetic cannabinoids are very unpredictable and can be much more harmful.

While many synthetic cannabinoids have been made illegal, manufacturers often try to side-step the laws by adjusting the chemical formulation. This means that some synthetic cannabinoids may still be bought legally, often mislabeled as “natural” products.

What are the effects of spice?

Spice can consist of a diverse array of chemicals, making it challenging to identify the specific components present in the substance.

As a result, the effects of spice can be very unpredictable and may include, among others:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fainting

Synthetic cannabinoids have only become common in recent years, so there isn’t yet enough research on their long-term effects or their interactions with other drugs. This absence of reliable information makes them even more dangerous.

What is spice addiction?

Spice addiction is when you compulsively seek and use spice, despite any negative consequences. Addiction is a destructive force that can seriously damage all aspects of your life, including your work, relationships, and health.

If you’re living with spice addiction, remember it is not your fault. Addiction is characterised by physical changes in the brain that make it extremely difficult to stop using a substance through willpower alone.

Far from being a choice, spice addiction is a medical condition that requires long-term support, while misconceptions surrounding spice addiction prevent people from reaching out for help.

How does spice affect the brain?

When you take some types of spice, it causes physical changes in the way that neurons (brain cells) connect along the reward pathway. With repeated use, these changes motivate you to take spice again and cause extremely strong urges (cravings) to use the substance. These cravings are hard to resist without effective support, leading to the compulsive drug-seeking behaviour that characterises spice addiction.

What underlying causes can contribute to spice addiction?

Spice addiction is rooted in a number of underlying issues. These issues vary from person to person, and in many cases, there is more than one.

These can include:

Mental health issues

For many people, their spice addiction, at least in part, stems from co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression. Spice can offer an escape or a temporary relief from symptoms of these conditions, especially for those who are not receiving effective support.


Spice addiction - woman with anxiety



The abuse of spice is also connected to experiences of trauma and early life adversity, which may leave individuals with a sense of loss or a “void” that they seek to fill by using drugs.

Whatever the underlying causes of your spice addiction, identifying and treating them is key to effective recovery.

What are the signs and symptoms of spice addiction?

If you’re worried that you may be addicted to spice, it might be helpful to read through the following signs. Bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive and that addiction to spice can manifest in hidden and unexpected ways.

Some of the behavioural, psychological and physical spice addiction symptoms include:

  • Finding that your thoughts are dominated by seeking and using spice
  • Neglecting home and work responsibilities due to spice use
  • Strained relationships with loved ones because of using spice
  • Financial difficulties due to the cost of spice or spice-related work issues
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using spice
  • Trying to cut down on or stop using spice but being unable to

If you recognise any of these signs of spice addiction or have any concerns about your spice use, you can contact us to find the support you need.

How is spice addiction overcome?

Long-term treatment is usually the only way to achieve lasting recovery if you’re living with spice addiction. Effective treatment begins with spice detox, where you will cleanse your body and restore its natural balance by eliminating the harmful effects of synthetic cannabinoids commonly found in spice or synthetic marijuana. This will break the physical dependence and allow your body to start healing.

Alongside that, you will undergo spice rehab programme to address the emotional and psychological aspects of spice addiction. Using varying therapy approaches, such as DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) and group therapy, allowing you to understand the underlying reasons for your spice addiction. This comprehensive approach can help you build a new life in recovery.

Contact us today

If you or someone you care about is struggling with spice addiction, we are here to provide assistance. Our expert team is available to address your inquiries and provide information about our approach to spice addiction recovery. Contact us today for a free and confidential conversation.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I am addicted to spice?
Spice addiction looks different in every person; however, some common signs of spice addiction can range from needing a higher dosage of spice to achieve the desired effect to experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit. If you’re worried that you’re addicted to spice, it’s advisable to seek the advice of a mental health professional.