Citation: dkz. "A Personal Journey: An Experience with Spice (exp89101)". Erowid.org. Dec 31, 2013. erowid.org/exp/89101
Below is the complete chronology of my involvement with synthetic cannabinoids of various brands. I will start from the beginning.
This story starts all the way back in March of 2010, spring of my senior year in high school. At this point in my life I could count my interactions with the lovely and tender Mary Jane on one hand and on my other hand I could count my liftime use of alcohol. At this point I was definitely a greenhorn when it comes to drug experience, although not knowledge. Thanks to the internet, I already knew very much about many, many drugs and unbeknownst to me, my first DXM experience would occur soon after. For perspective, I am now pretty much a daily marijuana smoker, I use alcohol 3 weekends a month, and I've used MDMA, salvia, and DXM at least a dozen times.
The first time I heard of spice was one night at my friend J's house we saw a really low budget, late-night commercial for some head shop downtown from where I lived. Due to the nature of late night commercials, I watched it probably a half dozen times within half an hour before I payed attention to their 'UNBELIEVABLE SPICE SELECTION!'. I didn't know what it was so I quickly researched it when I got home and found it to be a synthetic substance that was legal but it gave me huge doubts because I was aware of Damiana, Kava, and other very subtle psychoactive drugs that were legal simply because they could never really have a strong grip on the mind, only mild relaxant and euphoric effects. With more research, I found out that there are synthetic cannabinoids added to a mild mixture of Damiana, mullein leaf, white skullcap and various other ethnobotanicals, depending on the brand. Still, I had my doubts.
Anyway, the next day, me and J decided to go to our favorite head shop and see what the guy there could tell us. It should be noted that J is a very exploratory person, yet knows his own personal limits when it comes to things like this. He occasionally smokes cigarettes and is fascinated with the whole 'head shop' idea, yet he stays away from weed like it's the plague. I tried to ask the guy at the head shop if spice was even worth buying but I tried to steer the conversation away from comparing it to marijuana, as I had noticed a sign saying 'There's no 'B' in 'waterpipe'!'. I asked him if it was 'legit' and that's when he told me that it's pretty damn close to the real thing and he gave me a sample. It was a surprisingly large sample, probably 2 large-size bowls, 3/4 gram or so. J asked for a sample too, and that surprised me, considering his angst towards weed. He ended up giving that sample to me later.
MY INTERPRETATION OF THE EFFECTS
At the time, being a very novice smoker, I only had a $5 metal pipe with a bowl the size of a dime but because of my first time smoking marijuana I didn't use it right away. You see, the first time I smoked marijuana, I found my brother's sack in his room by smell and pinched just a pea size nug. I excavated the tip of my cigarette and loaded the trees. I then sparked, blazed, and ghosted a single, large hit, through the filter and all, completely cashing that first nug. I then got halfway through the rest of my cigarette before I just floated into a dream...love weed.
So with the spice I decided to do the same thing and I toke a massive hit off of one pinch of the herb loaded into my cigarette while J drives us to the hookah bar. I don't remember what flavor or brand the sample we got was. It tasted kinda funny and had a somewhat potent, numbing, chemical effect in the mouth almost like the smell one gets from any sort of solvent but very subtle and mild. I sometimes feel that same sensation with buds that are fire. After 10 or 15 minutes, what I felt was a letdown, just some mild relaxation properties, like high 'echoes' but even that could have easily been a placebo effect.
We soon arrive at the hookah bar which is fairly drab in appearance, just a yellow rope light around the stencil, spray-painted logo, and I wasn't satisfied with the current level of CNS intoxication, so I proceeded to load an extremely thin (~1-2mm thick) bowl on the screen at the bottom of my metal pipe and smoked it down in about 4 hits. J declined the pipe because he wanted to 'watch me first'. Turns out he has a morbid fear of psychoactive chemicals, disguised as the typical, conservative, high-morals, straight-edge, lifestyle choice. I got out of the car and walked 30 feet to the entrance and by the time I got there, I already noticed that the rope light was glowing significantly more. I was coming up real
fast! Before I knew it, my whole 'experience' of the world, let's say the total sum of sensory inputs combined with instant emotional reactions, my 'consciousness engine', was experiencing a severe strobing effect. The frame rate of my vision dropped severely, only a couple of frames per second. And I felt like I was in a movie, or in a dream, or something like that. The main feeling was that of confusion, of not knowing which world I was in. I felt like I would wake up somewhere with this vague crazy dream of me at the hookah bar fresh in my mind. This happened really only once with marijuana, the first time, the time that I got high for about 8 hours, passed out, called my mom and told her I was sick and couldn't go to school. But with spice I'd venture to say that it feels more 'stimulating'. I've never used stimulants besides caffeine, so it's what I imagine it to feel like. I was really alert and had a lot of energy but I still tended to zone into spiraling and looping thought processes.
It felt really strange, the world I was in. It felt like I was in a genetically mutated marijuana high and I imagined that spice was created by mutating healthy cannabis plants until this wildly potent arche-drug. None of these thoughts were invaded with paranoia, however. It's a very rare event for me to ever feel paranoia for either weed or spice. Usually it's just warm, relaxing bliss. The spice high was like my train of thought suddenly turned into an entertaining cartoonish, roller coaster version. I discovered so many things about the world when I smoked spice.
After that, my friend J was talking to the hookah bar owner, M (more of a friend than an owner), about what I'd smoked and what dose I took, and since my friend has such a monotone, scientific, consistent voice, I started to think he was a doctor who was discussing my mental mind-state with his fellow doctors and scientists. Nope. Another random mind-trip. Somehow another full bowl was loaded out of M's glass pipe and I see him take a drag off it. We ended up smoking the whole bowl, probably 5 hits each and by this time, I'm totally ripped, beyond imagination.
My memory of the time at the hookah bar is fuzzy, and this is part one of the disadvantages of this substance. It totally fucks my memory so much worse than weed has for me. I think partly itís because it gets you so incredibly high. So when I start to come down, I begin to feel a noticeable lack of bliss and pleasure, and thereís no type of afterglow. Itís emotionally painful for the drugs to be metabolized out of my system, and this is the seed that sprouts the problem. Addiction.
A couple weeks later I got a girlfriend who is a hardcore stoner, so over the next few months she pretty much got me smoking 5-6 nights a week, which I didn't mind at all, considering she provided the herb, and I compensated her with my charm and sexiness. My love for being high was starting to get ridiculous, but I wouldn't buy extra weed to smoke. It cost too much and was too inconvenient to get at certain times of the day. When spice first came out it was only sold at the head shop 10 miles away from me but one day when I was filling up on gas at a local station, I see 'Smokin Hot Herbal Blends'. Note that they aren't 'smoking blends'. They sell spice a mile from my house, and it's only 10 bucks a gram! I'm thinking sweet and I impulse bought 2 grams. It was gone in less than a week. Slowly my spice usage increased to the point where I simply had
to have a stash. All
the time. Every night after leaving my girlfriend's place, I'd have a bowl or two, and two or three cigarettes. I should say here that during this time, I still
was a heavy marijuana smoker, on top of the spice. And on top of all that, the spice was increasing my other addiction, cigs. It was altogether a horrible trap.
I have never been addicted to weed, it can come and go in my life but I've never had ridiculous cravings for it like I did with spice. Every time I started to come down, there came the cold, harsh, simple fact of reality, and sobriety. And it wasn't fun. I'll admit that I sometimes spent money allocated for another certain part of my life on spice. When I had absolutely no money and no spice, I resorted to stealing a 20 from one of my family members somehow. I was a pretty sick person. Spice is very seductive and devilish and it treated me like shit but I kept coming back for more delusional pleasure. The peak of my addiction was when this one brand called Monkey Funky was only 16 bucks for 4 grams. I was blazed all
the time, pretty much no exceptions. I smoked before I visited my girlfriend and I'd blaze a bowl right after I left her house. It was ridiculous.
I like spice. It's extremely intense and can overtake me with such an amazing vibrating body high. It also opens me up to more abstract ideas. I am a logical thinker, almost borderline-autistic and it makes me more social. Me and a friend, B, pretty much became friends over this stuff. We knew each other but one night we went to the gas station and just grabbed a gram and smoked it with a couple 40s and we became such great friends after that. There are other personal non-drug related events that have brought us apart since then but I won't delve into that.
Most of the people I know hate spice. They say that it's so 'nasty' and they drag out the word and really emphasize it. I think they really loathe the stuff. And from what I know, most people don't like it because it tastes like barbecue and chemicals. My stoner girlfriend smoked it a couple times but after a while she decided she hated it and wouldn't smoke it or even kiss me after I had smoked it; it was that bad to her. In my opinion, the flavor varieties that spice is sold in are good enough to make the smoking of it bearable, if not pleasurable. My personal favorite was Mr. Smiley strawberry. And their 1g jars were packed beyond 1g. They came out to about 1.4 on my scale.
Every time I'd start a bowl of some good spice, I'd start to feel the effects almost right after the first toke was inhaled. It was kind of a warm caressing feeling, all over my whole body. If I were to simplify my perception of it, I'd say it's like marijuana is a really suave professional and spice is a novice or a trainee. It just seems cheaper but still damn fulfilling. It makes me full of euphoria, sending waves of electricity through my body, and my thoughts just get lost in the jungle of good ideas and un-thought-of concepts. It's quite amazing.
The spice addiction was even crazier when it ended and honestly this part makes me think if the addiction was just a figment of my imagination. The way that my spice usage ended was actually in Hawaii. I guess the DEA was emergency banning it for a year on Dec. 26th 2010, so that studies can be done and it can become a scheduled substance (my personal political opinion). I went on a vacation in Hawaii and I smoked my last spice bowls at night on the beach in Maui. It was so easy to bring spice onto the plane, just threw it in my bag with my spice-resinated pipe and they x-rayed it and I walked right on through.
There are no real withdrawal symptoms, which I am both surprised and thankful for. Yeah, when I knew that with 10 bucks and a visit to the convenience store I could get really
blazed for a couple hours, it was easy to convince me to contrive a way to get 10 dollars. But with spice being illegal and there's no way I can get it, thereís not much of any addiction or longing because I guess my willpower defeats it. There is no way to get spice for me. Period.
I would like to note a few health effects that I noticed here. Every time I smoked spice since the beginning, I've always gotten a really rapid heartbeat. From reading about spice, I knew it would happen and I just ignored it and forgot about it.
A more serious concern for me was that about a month before I stopped it for good, every time I smoked I felt what I thought was intense hypertension (high blood pressure) in the neck area. I felt like the area behind my ears bulged out and would explode at any moment. Again, not paranoia here, just random mind trips. When this happened, it also affected my hearing, making it a lot quieter from the pressure. Iím convinced that this symptom is real, not imagined, as some things are with psychoactive drugs.
I am glad that spice is off the market, as the temptation is removed and the addiction is completely gone. The addiction itself was an extremely weird one, it got me to steal money just so I'd be high, something I've never done with weed or even cigarettes. However, when chronic use of the substance stops because it is unavailable, I don't have any sort of overwhelming sadness or anything like that. In fact, I barely miss it. I would like to smoke it but there were no sort of classical 'withdrawal' symptoms even after stopping cold-turkey after chronic use.
My spice journey may not be over yet, as I had previously assumed. The gas station still carries one brand of spice and the manager told me they extended it for 20 more days or something. Who knows, maybe I'll go in there and buy a packet of Spike Max for the first and probably last time ever.
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