Synthetic Cannabinoid Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

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Synthetic cannabinoids, often sold as K2 or Spice, are manufactured chemicals intended to replicate the effects of natural marijuana. This synthetic compound, available in oil or solid forms, is usually sprayed onto dried herbs and spices. While synthetic cannabinoids are often marketed as a safe alternative to natural marijuana, synthetic marijuana is far from safe, and has been linked to many dangerous effects.

Prolonged use of synthetic marijuana can lead to the development of physical dependence, and the presentation of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoid addiction withdrawal symptoms can be more aggravating than the symptoms associated with discontinuing marijuana. These substances, which are chemically different from the THC found in marijuana, may trigger the following adverse outcomes upon discontinuation:

  • Anxiety and tachycardia: Many people quitting synthetic cannabinoids report an increase in anxiety levels, often accompanied by tachycardia, or a rapid heartbeat. These symptoms reflect the body’s response to the absence of the synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Heightened severity of symptoms: Withdrawal from synthetic cannabinoids like Spice is generally more severe than from cannabis. This is due to the higher potency and unpredictable nature of synthetic cannabinoids, which can significantly affect both physical and mental health.
  • Range of adverse effects: The withdrawal process may also involve symptoms associated with acute intoxication from these substances. This can include a range of physical and psychological effects.

The severity and unpredictability of these symptoms means it’s advisable to seek professional medical support during the withdrawal process. Remember, recovery is a journey, and with the right support and guidance, it’s a journey that can lead to a healthier, substance-free life.

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Is Synthetic Cannabinoid Addiction Dangerous?

Synthetic cannabinoid addiction cannabis is dangerous and poses several significant risks. Unlike marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals with unpredictable effects. 

Synthetic cannabinoids can be many times more potent than THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. This increased potency leads to a higher risk of severe and unpredictable physical and mental health effects.

Use of synthetic cannabinoids has been linked to serious health issues, including acute kidney injury, cardiovascular complications, seizures, psychotic episodes, and even death. These risks are compounded by the variability in chemical composition from one batch to another.

Long-term use can worsen existing mental health issues or contribute to the development of new psychiatric disorders. The intense psychoactive effects can lead to severe anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychotic episodes.

Synthetic cannabinoids can be addictive, leading to physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms can be particularly intense and uncomfortable, including anxiety, irritability, and physical discomfort.

Apart from health risks, the use of these substances often has legal consequences, as many synthetic cannabinoids are illegal. This can lead to legal troubles and disrupt personal and professional lives.

Addressing synthetic cannabinoid addiction calls for a comprehensive approach, often involving detoxification, counseling, psychotherapy, and long-term support.

What Is the Best Way to Detox from Synthetic Cannabinoid Addiction?

Detoxing from synthetic cannabinoid addiction, like any substance use disorder (addiction), should be approached with caution and ideally under medical supervision. Given the unpredictable nature of synthetic cannabinoids and their potentially severe withdrawal symptoms, a structured and safe detox process is essential. Here are key steps to consider for the best detox approach:

Medical supervision

Due to the potential severity and unpredictability of withdrawal symptoms, detoxing under the supervision of healthcare professionals is highly recommended. This ensures that any complications can be promptly and effectively addressed.

Gradual reduction

Depending on the level of addiction and individual circumstances, a gradual reduction in synthetic cannabinoid use might be advised to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This should be carried out under medical guidance.

Supportive therapies

Psychological support, including counseling and therapy, can be beneficial during the detox process. These therapies help manage psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and cravings.

Treatment of withdrawal symptoms

Medical professionals may prescribe medications to alleviate specific withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, nausea, or sleep disturbances. This can make the detox process more comfortable and manageable.

Nutritional support and hydration

A balanced diet and proper hydration are important during detox. They help the body recover and can alleviate some withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient or outpatient treatment programs

Depending on the severity of the addiction, either inpatient or outpatient detox programs may be recommended. Inpatient programs provide a controlled environment, which can be beneficial for severe addictions. Outpatient treatment is a more affordable and flexible option.

Aftercare and long-term support

Effective aftercare is targeted to the individual and may include continued therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes to prevent relapse.

Family and community support

Having a strong support system can greatly enhance the effectiveness of detox and recovery. Family, friends, and support groups can provide emotional support and encouragement throughout the process.

Remember that detox is just the first step in overcoming synthetic cannabinoid addiction. Long-term recovery involves continued treatment and support, addressing underlying issues, and building a healthier lifestyle. If you or someone you know is struggling with synthetic cannabinoid addiction, reaching out for professional help is a critical first step towards recovery.

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Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Ohio Recovery Center

At Ohio Recovery Centers, we treat all types of addictions in an outpatient setting. This enables you to connect with the evidence-based care you need without neglecting your everyday obligations.

For anyone who needs a more immersive and supportive pathway to addiction recovery, we also offer more intensive outpatient programs at our rehab center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

All Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs deliver personalized and evidence-based treatments that include psychotherapy, MAT (medication-assisted treatment), counseling, and holistic therapies. All treatment programs also include a comprehensive aftercare component.

Begin your journey to spice synthetic cannabinoid addiction recovery by calling 877-679-2132.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn