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K2/Spice Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Synthetic cannabinoids like spice (K2) have steadily gained popularity and are widely available to consumers in many retail establishments. However, while spice is legal for sale and use in many places across the United States, this product contains potent ingredients that have been proven harmful to your health.

Using spice has immediate short and long-term risks. Quitting spice can be challenging, but it is the best decision a person can make to protect their emotional and physical health and to avoid complications down the road.

But quitting spice can be challenging. Many people experience uncomfortable side effects that can make it hard to stop using K2 when they want to. This article will explore what happens during spice withdrawal, the K2 withdrawal timeline, and how to manage withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse.

Reach out to the specialists at the Mandala Healing Center now to learn more about our holistic approach to substance abuse treatment or to be connected to supportive resources at any stage of addiction recovery.

What is Spice/K2?

Spice, or K2, is a synthetic cannabinoid. This artificial version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has mind-altering properties. People make K2 by adding synthetic psychoactive chemicals to dried plant material, which users smoke like cannabis. People may also use K2 by inhaling vapors from a liquid form in an e-cigarette or vaporizer.

Synthetic cannabinoids have similar properties to the naturally occurring chemicals in cannabis plants and are sometimes marketed as a safe, legal alternative to marijuana. However, the claims that K2 is safe ignore the reality of the situation. K2 is anything but safe, and many people experience mental and physical harm while using it. 

The effects of K2 can be challenging to predict, more potent than cannabis, and dangerous. Using spice can be life-threatening in some circumstances.

The Effects of K2

When people consume spice, the K2 binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. K2 users may experience pleasant side effects, including:

  •  Elevated mood
  •  Relaxation
  •  Altered perceptions of the environment

 But spice users may also experience unpleasant, sometimes distressing side effects, including:

  •  Psychosis
  •  Extreme anxiety
  •  Paranoia
  •  Confusion
  •  Hallucinations

Research shows that synthetic cannabinoids are linked to higher hospital admissions and toxicity rates than natural marijuana. K2 can produce more potent and longer-lasting effects because of the way synthetic cannabinoids work in the brain. Both pleasant and unpleasant effects can last much longer than when people use natural cannabis.

Some of the symptoms of K2 use that require immediate medical intervention include:

  •  Rapid heart rate
  •  Violent or erratic behaviors
  •  Suicidal thought
  •  Vomiting
  •  Agitation
  •  High blood pressure
  •  Chest pain
  •  Vertigo
  •  Dizziness
  •  Confusion

People who use K2 repeatedly may develop an addiction to it. If people with K2 addiction suddenly stop using spice, they may experience withdrawal symptoms that can make it hard to avoid relapse.

What Happens During Spice Withdrawal?

Because K2 and spice are relatively new, there needs to be more research into spice withdrawal. However, the information available suggests that withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and that people may struggle to stop using it for good.

Some of the effects of K2 withdrawal include:

  •  Irritability
  •  Poor concentration
  •  Depression
  •  Anxiety
  •  Agitation and restlessness
  •  Nausea
  •  Sweating
  •  Tremors
  •  Sleep disturbances
  •  Nightmares
  •  Intense cravings

Spice withdrawal may not be immediately life-threatening but can lead to hazardous, sometimes life-threatening complications. Some of the most significant risks during K2 withdrawal are:

  •  Emotional distress, including severe depression
  •  Self-harm or injuries as a result of impaired judgment
  •  Dehydration resulting from excessive vomiting and sweating

People experiencing K2 withdrawal are also at increased risk of relapse because of the likelihood of intense cravings. People in withdrawal must seek treatment and support to ensure a safe detox from k2.

The K2 Withdrawal Timeline

For most, the K2/spice withdrawal timeline follows this course:

  • Symptoms begin very quickly after usage stops
  • Withdrawal symptoms Peak within four to seven days
  • People may experience symptoms of K2 withdrawal for as long as a month

A person’s K2 withdrawal timeline and the severity of their symptoms will depend on how much of the drug they used, gender, general health, other substances they used at the same time, and other factors.

Research suggests that severe withdrawal symptoms are rare. However, some users may experience intense symptoms that disrupt their ability to function and require support to stay sober throughout detox.

Treatment for Spice Withdrawal

K2 withdrawal can make people feel very uncomfortable. Sweating, vomiting, and nausea can exhaust people’s bodies, while depression, anxiety, and insomnia tire the mind. Intense cravings may make it feel nearly impossible to have a safe, complete detox.

A substance abuse treatment program can offer the support people need to get through K2 withdrawal without relapsing. Medically-supported detox programs provide continuous supervision, medications, and emotional support that keep people comfortable as their body rids itself of K2 and other substances.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love is in K2 withdrawal or wants to learn more about the K2 withdrawal timeline, contact the Mandala Healing Center specialists now. Our holistic substance abuse treatment programs can help you embrace sobriety and learn the skills to avoid relapse for the rest of your life. 


  1. United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Spice/K2 Synthetic Marijuana, Retrieved October 2023 from
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2/Spice) DrugFacts, Retrieved October 2023 from