Citation: Dr. Toata Phikal. "Marijuana for K2 Withdrawal: An Experience with Spice (exp94940)". Erowid.org. Mar 10, 2013. erowid.org/exp/94940
I would like to submit my experience with synthetic cannabinomimetics in hopes of contributing to a growing body of knowledge on this substance.
Over the course of my life, I have decided to experiment with most drugs in my early 20s- Marijuana, Cocaine and crack, Ecstascy, LSD, Ketamine, Meth, GHB, Heroin snorted, prescription pain medication, and mushrooms. All of these were one time experiences except ecstascy and marijuana. For ketamine, GHB, heroin/opioids, LSD and cocaine, I never understood why anyone would want to keep doing these drugs because I did not find them very pleasurable; however, for crack and meth, they were too good - so good that after trying them once, I quickly realized their potential for inducing strong dependence (even if mostly a psychological one) that I decided to not continue to indulge.
Ecstascy was a different story. The most amazing drug quite possibly out there, yet its potential for a physical addiction is low and that for psychological addiction is limited because if taken daily for more than 2-3 days, it loses its effect due to serotonin depletion. Also after a while, like 6 months or so, ecstasy loses its 'magic.' It is a rather self limited drug in my opinion; however, its down side is that I did notice some very mild cognitive dulling which resolves after discontinuation of regular (2 or three times per week) use. Marijuana has a reputation as a gateway drug. For me it was a gateway back from using ecstasy to go dancing on the weekends. When I first started using pot, it felt like Ecstasy to me, minus the autonomic signs. It felt like a safe drug that was pleasurable with no known imminent dangers. I started smoking pot daily; till one day, I stopped smoking out of fear that I could get randomly drug tested one day and came across some thing called Baked Goods.
Baked Goods is a herbal incense infused with an unknown cannabinomimetic. My initial impression was mixed. I smoked about a hit of it, didn't feel anything, waited a little and took another hit at which point the high from the first hit started coming on with nausea and I stopped taking hits. Nausea spontaneously resolved after several minutes and disappeared with habitual use. It was a strong high, not as dopey as marijuana, less appetite stimulation, increased desire to dance/appreciation of music, more analgesic properties. I would feel like cracking my back and stretching it and I think my stint with K2 has done wonders for my back! Down sides were that it lasted only 30-40 minutes requiring frequent re-dosing, caused significant scleral injection which was only minimally responsive to my eye drops and the rebound redness effect was significantly increased even when compared to using drops while on marijuana. I developed head aches. A cough started. My behavior was more agitated than calm at times when instigated. Prior to starting to use K2, I would smoke pot a little after work and and at bedtime. When K2 came into the picture, I would smoke K2 after work and continue to smoke it till bed time because each hit only lasted 30-40 minutes. One hit became two and so worth, till I was smoking about 1.5 grams of incense per day.
On my way to reaching this point, I had started questioning if using this drug was a good idea. I started researching. There was information, but it was very limited. I found peoples accounts on forums about their long term use most beneficial. The media had already demonized K2. Those in the medical community were very wary of it, making claims that this drug commonly causes first break psychosis leading to several deaths, and severe respiratory problems. The overall idea that I was getting was that it may not be the safest drug. There were plenty of negative accounts on this drug but nothing for me to compare it statistically with. I did not know what the prevalence of K2 use actually was. I thought, if its use is even as wide spread as marijuana then the number of incidents reported was not that high percentage wide. Marijuana can cause first break psychosis in those with a family history of a psychotic disorder. Over my continued use, at one time, I had developed nausea with dry heaves and followed by cold sweats. I thought it was because of the K2, but then remembered that I had made some seafood the night prior which may caused food poisoning as I started feeling better after vomiting. I decide to sleep this off. Such an incident never really happened again.
My use continued to escalate. I was neglecting professional responsibilities and saw the negative effects of the drug on my body. My skin texture was changing. My eyes and face were losing their glow. I was starting to have a slightly clouded sensorium with occasional episodes of losing my thoughts when talking to people while I was acutely intoxicated on K2. My relationship had just ended prior to my introduction to K2 and it slowly has dwindled away to nothingness. He says I changed as a person and became a bad person. I started becoming paranoid while on K2 and accused him of things such as stealing or having ulterior motives behind all his actions. It is hard for me to justify if these could be clearly classified as paranoid delusions because he has a history of dishonesty and has stolen avocados from the grocery story by ringing them up as apples or something cheap in self-check out. At base line I have trust issues with guys. Regardless, when I look back I was more paranoid than I should be. Marijuana has a similar effect but this paranoia felt more toxic and more intense.
I decided to stop twice for a day, did not experience any withdrawal, so I attributed my fear of this drug to the paranoia it was causing. I found myself wanting to take a hit the first thing in the morning along with a few other red flags. At this point, I decided that this may be more of a powerful/dangerous than I am willing to use regularly. I had stopped twice for about a day each and did not experience significant withdrawals. Continued to smoke, another episode of nausea/vomiting. This time I had drank the night before, but not enough to make me vomit. I haven't vomited to a night of drinking in over 5-7 years. This time I decided to throw away all my bags of K2. I had bought 20 1.5 gram bags online. Used about 10 over course of 1/1.5 months of my using K2. The cons of this drug outweighed the pros for me. I felt that it had potential to destroy lives based solely on the escalation of dose and associated amotivational syndrome which was much stronger than I observed with pot. I am sure there has been a downregulation of my cannabinoid receptors. I decided to switch back to Marijuana as I was having a hard time stopping cold turkey. Now, this is where I would like to discuss my experience with the use of marijuana as a tool to mitigate K2 withdrawal.
I had smoked K2 about 3-4 hours prior to taking my first hit of pot. Some back ground knowledge, the cannabinomimetics in these herbal blends are CB1 and CB2 receptor full agonists. Marijuana is a partial agonist. My first three hits spread out over a course of 3-4 hours of marijuana induced nausea. The nausea decreased with each subsequent hit. The high from marijuana did not feel like it used to. Over the course of the past 24 hours since I stopped using K2, I have not experienced any major withdrawal. The effect of marijuana is slowly starting to come back. My appetite is fine, sleep has been restful and I am starting to feel more clear headed over all. The increased anxiety otherwise associated K2 withdrawal is non existent. Life is starting to feel less toxic. I had bought 20 backs of 1.5 grams each. I threw away 10 bags of it yesterday. Just as I had flushed $40 of herion after buying $60 worth many years ago. It's just not worth any risk. More research needs to be done on these synthetic cannabinomimetics.
1) K2 seem like it has high potential for harm. I consider myself pro-choice when it comes to drugs but still feel that certain regulations need to be enforced. K2 is a drug that should be regulated. These synthetic cannabinoids may prove to have medicinal uses and continued research is required. As a drug of recreational use, I think it has high potential to cause dependency and addiction. Long term effects are uncertain.
2) Marijuana may be a pharmacological aid to ease the transition from using K2 to stopping. Once stabilized on marijuana, that too can be stopped. I decided to stop K2 after about 1.5 months of smoking herbal incense. There are others out there who are buying it in powder from and smoking it like crack as little sized rock. It is unclear if Marijuana would prove as effective for those users trying to stop K2.
3) Based on the pharmacodymanics of marijuana (partial agonist at CB1/CB2 and synthetic cannabinoids which are full agonists), it seems plausible that marijuana could be used in states of K2 toxicity to minimize risk of convulsions and other signs sees seen in acute intoxication. Theoretically, partial agonism may also precipitate rapid withdrawal in states of severe acute intoxication.
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