A new study published in Psychopharmacology has revealed that Spice or K2 users experience severe withdrawal symptoms than cannabis users.

The research conducted by psychologists from the Addiction and Mental Health Group in the University of Bath's Department of Psychology found that Painful withdrawal symptoms and rising psychological discomfort are all likely to drive you back to the substance.

The researchers investigated a group of individuals who use both spice and cannabis to compare their impacts across multiple metrics. The study enrolled 284 participants in the Global Drug Survey who had previously attempted to abstain from Spice. Spice withdrawal has never been studied on this scale before, and this is the first study to compare Spice and cannabis withdrawal symptoms.

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The research and its findings

The researchers examined the drug's long-term effects, withdrawal symptoms, and the rate at which tolerance develops. The data indicate that Spice's effects appeared more rapidly than those of cannabis. Additionally, they reported symptoms such as insomnia, irritation and bad mood, heart palpitations, and appetite that were considerably worse than those attempting to abstain from cannabis.

Sam Craft, main author and Medical Research Council-funded PhD student, explained: "Despite its origins as a legal substitute for cannabis, our data demonstrate that Spice is a significantly more dangerous substance and those seeking to quit are likely to face a range of severe withdrawal symptoms". It is critical, then, that greater effort is made to ensure that Spice is not taken in place of cannabis or any other substance and that individuals suffering difficulties with Spice receive treatment."

Participants stated that tolerance to the effects of Spice builds more rapidly, implying that individuals may need to take bigger dosages more frequently to achieve the same impact as previously.

Dr Tom Freeman, senior author and director of the University of Bath's Addiction and Mental Health Group, added: "These results of the study identify severe withdrawal symptoms as a significant clinical problem among people who use Spice and highlight the critical need for effective treatments to assist people in quitting."


Previous research

In a previous study, Dr Simon Cotton from the University of Birmingham found, "Spice can cause a variety of health concerns, including seizures, abnormal behaviours, intoxication, heart and kidney problems, and even death."

According to a poll done by PMC, the majority of drug users are male, and the biggest motives for use are relaxation, curiosity, and avoiding a positive drug test. Additionally, the rate of hallucinations associated with Spice product use is higher than that associated with cannabis consumption.

Furthermore, the poll found that Spice products were most typically purchased from retail sellers and smoked, however other modes of consumption were indicated. There was evidence that consumers obtained and used these drugs even after they were prohibited by local authorities.