How Much K2/Spice Would Cause an Overdose?
It is difficult to determine how much K2/spice could trigger an overdose, due to the fact that the chemicals used in the drug are constantly being changed by manufacturers in order to market it as an entirely new and technically legal product. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has outlawed many forms, but new ones keep popping up.
This article will cover the potential effects of synthetic marijuana use and misuse, including the risk of overdose.
What Is K2/Spice?
K2/spice is a common name for a substance that’s come to be known as “synthetic marijuana.” This drug has gradually increased in popularity as a legal form of cannabis.
However, despite some similarities to the naturally growing plant-based intoxicant, K2 and other synthetic forms of marijuana are man-made chemical compounds combined into a liquid. This drug is often produced with over 700 chemicals known as “cannabinoids,” or elements that interact with THC receptors in the brain, producing sensations similar to marijuana use.
The alarming trend of young people smoking this illegal substance is especially concerning because drugs like K2 are not as safe as actual cannabis and can in fact be quite dangerous. However, comparing the drug to marijuana often fools young people into thinking the substance is free from any risk of deadly overdose.
K2 has been sold as crushed-up plant material to make it look like marijuana or tobacco, but it is not a plant. The K2/spice is simply sprayed onto this mulch.
K2/Spice Overdose Risk
K2 and similar synthetic intoxicants are addictive, can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, and carry the risk of potential overdose. In 2011, over 28,500 people ended up in the emergency room due to synthetic marijuana, which was double the number from the previous year.
Reported overdose symptoms include:
- Blurred vision.
- High blood pressure.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Severe anxiety.
- Extreme agitation.
- Violent behavior.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Heart attack.
Effects can also be unpredictable due to the ever-changing massive number of chemicals in the substance. Some of these compounds affect other areas of the brain besides THC receptors and seem to cause effects similar to opioids. Additionally, “bad batches” of synthetic marijuana have resulted in groups of people being poisoned and presenting dangerous symptoms from even mild use.
Unfortunately, it truly is impossible at the time to determine how much K2/spice would trigger an overdose. Due to its unpredictability, it’s best to avoid this drug altogether.
No matter what a seller might say, K2 is not at all natural, and any batch of the stuff could be incredibly dangerous. It definitely cannot be used like real cannabis, which thus far has been proven to be physically safe even at very high doses, though it may cause emotional distress and lead to addiction.
Addiction to K2/spice and other kinds of synthetic marijuana is a serious matter. As manufacturers begin to sell the drug in the form of oil to cater to e-cigarette and vape pen users, more people are being hurt and killed by this drug.
Every time a new variety of the drug emerges, there are new potential dangers. Someone with an addiction to K2 may need to seek professional addiction treatment, especially before making any attempt to quit, as withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe.
Effects of K2/Spice Use and Misuse
The effects of K2/spice use and misuse vary. People who use K2 expect it to feel like marijuana. Some of the expected effects include:
- Elevated mood.
- Altered perception and senses.
This is because K2, like other types of synthetic marijuana, is designed in a lab to bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These drugs bind more rapidly and for longer than natural marijuana. This means that intentional and unintentional effects are more likely to occur, may feel more intense, and last longer.
Negative effects of K2/spice use and misuse can include:
- Extreme anxiety or paranoia.
- Frightening hallucinations.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Paranoid delusions.
- Temporary vision loss.
- Violent behavior.
- Suicidal thoughts or actions.
- Psychosis, sometimes called spiceophrenia.
- Heart damage, over time.
It is possible that K2 and other types of synthetic pot can induce seizures by increasing some brain activity. Because these drugs are very new, it is difficult to know for sure how these substances induce seizures, but they seem to trigger in some individuals, much like psychosis is triggered in some people who are more susceptible to it.
Many of these effects and the risk of overdose could be due to metabolites of K2/spice failing to deactivate in the body as they are processed through the system.
Dangers of Mixing K2 With Other Drugs
Mixing K2 with other drugs—or any form of polysubstance use—can be dangerous. People may combine K2/spice with alcohol, illicit narcotics, or benzodiazepines, which have all been known to enhance the effects of other intoxicating substances.
Synthetic marijuana acts on serotonin receptors, which is one reason the substances cause people to “act like zombies.” This also puts people at risk for serotonin syndrome or other psychological effects if they take K2 with prescription medications, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, and more.
Additional Risks of K2/Spice Use
Regardless of potential interactions, ingesting K2 or other forms of synthetic marijuana is dangerous and must be avoided. These drugs are not regulated in any way, even in the labs that make them. They are irregularly dosed, so it is impossible to know how much of the chemicals one package contains. Taking these substances by themselves is dangerous; mixing them with other intoxicating substances, for completely recreational purposes, is even more dangerous.
If someone has an existing mental health disorder, using synthetic marijuana may worsen the associated symptoms. Additionally, people with existing health conditions like heart problems, high blood pressure or cholesterol, liver or kidney damage, or chronic disorders are more likely to experience physical harm from taking K2/spice even once.
K2 is currently illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which is maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration; however, other forms of synthetic marijuana are still legal because their chemical structure has not been listed under the CSA. But despite their legality, these chemicals are very dangerous, alone or when mixed with other substances.
Treatment for K2/Spice Addiction
If you or a loved one has lost control of their drug use, professional addiction treatment can help you begin the path to recovery.
At Desert Hope Treatment Center, we offer different levels of addiction treatment and tailor treatment plan to meet the individual needs of each patient.
To learn more about the programs at our inpatient rehab in Las Vegas, ways to pay for rehab, or using insurance to pay for rehab, contact us at today. You can also check whether we accept your insurance by filling out this quick and confidential .
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it’s not too late to get help. Call an admissions navigator at to start addiction treatment at Desert Hope in Las Vegas today.