Does Synthetic Weed Come up on a Drug Test?

With weed so easily available, why would someone want to smoke a synthetic and dangerous imitation? Duh...to beat drug tests, of course.
Jared Rosenthal
Published on

Don’t let the natural sounding street name “Spice” fool you, nor the phony reference to weed. Also known as synthetic weed, synthetic marijuana, K2, Mr. Smiley, and Red X Dawn, Spice is a manufactured imitation of marijuana that can still be found in shiny packets marked “not for human consumption” at gas stations, convenience stores, and head shops, or over the internet. As with many of these over-the-counter products not approved by the FDA, the word “natural” is not only misleading, it is an outright falsehood.

Is Spice (K2) Similar to Marijuana?

No. Marijuana is a natural product, while Spice/K2 is man-made from chemicals. Even though the effects of smoking it may feel similar to the user, Spice is neither natural nor part-cannabis. Manufacturers simply take some herbs and spray on synthetic chemicals. These chemicals are intended to mimic the effects of THC — the active component in marijuana. These additives are not copies of THC; in fact, it has nothing to do with Cannabis or THC at all.

Since most companies, courts, and parents of teenagers haven’t yet heard about synthetic weed, they tend to not test for it. This drug is not picked up in any standard drug test, including 5 panels, 10 panels, and 12 panels. In order to detect it, you need to specifically order a Spice (K2, Synthetic Marijuana, Synthetic Weed) Drug Test.

Side Effects of Spice

Spice does tend to reproduce some of the same short-term effects of smoking weed.

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Elevated mood
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Relaxation
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Altered perception

In some cases, smoking or ingesting Spice creates psychotic side effects, which can last anywhere from 1 to 8 hours, including:

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Extreme anxiety
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Paranoia
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Hallucinations

Long Term Effects

This product is new enough that researchers have no bona-fide proof of long-term effects or even a clear picture of how it acts on the brain. This basic lack of information makes this product even more dangerous than most. One thing science does know is the effect, especially the psychosis, is much stronger than marijuana and less predictable. There is some evidence that smoking Spice can trigger chronic psychotic disorders in at-risk individuals.

Signs of Use

Determining whether someone is smoking Spice is not as clear-cut as other types of drug abuse, but there are classic symptoms to consider.

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Headache
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Rapid heart rate
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Anxiety
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Dizziness
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Disorientation
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Vomiting
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Nausea

In some cases, users seize or develop tremors. With high doses, hallucinations are likely, as well.

Is Spice Legal?

In 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration labeled synthetic cannabinoids Schedule 1 Controlled Substances, making carrying them against the law in this country. They remain legal in some countries, however, so Spice is still available over the Internet.

Why smoke synthetic marijuana?

Marijuana is about as hard to find as a beer these days. So why would anyone smoke chemicals in attempt to replicate the feeling of being high on weed, when the weed is so easily available? There really is only 2 reasons: to save money and to beat drug tests. Traditional drug tests for marijuana will not pick up synthetic weed.

Only a drug test that specifically includes K2/Spice will detect the presence of this dangerous substance.

WRITTEN BY

Jared is the Founder of Health Street, the creator of the Who's Your Daddy DNA truck, and the host of VH1's Swab Stories.

WRITTEN BY

Jared is the Founder of Health Street, the creator of the Who's Your Daddy DNA truck, and the host of VH1's Swab Stories.

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Drug Testing

Read Health Street's dramatic and informative drug testing stories.

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Drug Testing

Read Health Street's dramatic and informative drug testing stories.