Citation: SpacedOUTonSPICE. "Excessive Cannabinoid Agonism: An Experience with Spice & AM-2201 (exp96704)". Erowid.org. Dec 2, 2012. erowid.org/exp/96704
I know this is a long report. But hear me out, this report is pretty comprehensive. All across the internet, I have found plenty of reports on the short-term effects of spice. Most people’s experiences I have read involve very few times using the drug which quickly resulted in a freak out and cessation of use. I feel as though anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of the long-term effects of synthetic cannabinoid agonists (“spice” product) on the body and mind can benefit from reading my experience. This may not be everyone’s experience with these drugs; it is only the knowledge I have personally gained through my experience. I hope you find this to be an interesting and informative read, because I have had a wild time!
In recent years, synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists which have been sprayed onto inert plant material (in order to be smokable), have become the latest drug craze. These chemicals are known as research chemicals (chemicals which have a very short history of human use, are not approved for human consumption, but not necessarily illegal). This mixture of chemicals and plant material is commonly called “spice”, “K2”, herbal potpourri, or herbal incense. These chemicals mimic the activity of natural cannabinoid agonists such as THC. However, unlike real THC, these chemicals generally bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors (versus THC mainly binds to CB1 receptors), and can have a much high affinity to bind to these receptors. THC is actually only a partial cannabinoid agonist, whereas most of the synthetic ones are full cannabinoid agonists. Over the past years, I have been using these mysterious chemicals in place of real cannabis. This report is a chronicle of my experience with these various research chemicals overall, a few individual experiences I vividly remember, and the outcomes of my abuse of these drugs.
Because “spice” products are not regulated, there are a myriad of chemicals which can be found in this “potpourri”. All of the labels simply say something to the likeness of, “Contains a blend of aromatic herbs”. Because the chemicals which are responsible for the high are not listed on the package and there is virtually no specific information available on the internet, it is nearly impossible to know exactly what chemical or chemicals can be found in any one brand of “potpourri” without having the sample professionally tested. My experiences with some of these chemicals have been hardly noticeable over being sober, while others have been intense enough to induce dissociative hallucinations. I have definitely experienced a wide variety of these different chemicals.
Over the course of the past year, I have probably tried at least a hundred of different brands of spice. Some of the more notable ones include: The Best, SEXY, Sexy Killer, K2, Mr. Nice Guy, Fire, and Down to Earth Climax. Although I cannot remember exact dates and times of my experiences, I do believe I have an informative experience with spice overall. There are a few experiences I remember vividly (which I will discuss), but my report mainly consists of my use of these research chemicals in general.
Now I would like to share some information on my background of experimenting with drugs before and during my spice habit. My love of drugs started when I was 15. The first drug I ever did was Methadone. I was hooked on the feeling of altered body and mind states from the very beginning. Over the next 7 years I continued to expand my experience with different drugs. I found that using mind altering substances (especially hallucinogens) gave me a sense that I was expanding my consciousness and tuning in to some sort of greater understanding of the reality we perceive. Eventually, I made it my goal to try every drug this planet had to offer. So I did. At this point in time I have tried almost every different drug or at least every class of drugs (for instance, I have never done real heroin, but I have used many other opiates). I have also done many combinations of different drugs (the most I have ever been on at one time was 6 different substances).
Due to my personal experience and my habit of extensive researching here on Erowid.org, I do consider myself to be very knowledgeable in the subject of psychoactive substances. In fact, my friends all treat me as some sort of human drug encyclopedia. Whenever any of my friends need to know what effects a drug has, how much to take, or if a combination is safe, they call me first!
The list of substances I have tried at least once includes: marijuana, alcohol, just about all prescription opiates, prescription amphetamines, just about every benzodiazepine, barbiturates, zopliclone, dextromethorphan, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and other over-the-counter anticholinergic deliriants, Datura, Kratom, Morning Glories, poppy seeds, H.B. Woodrose, LSD, magic mushrooms, Amanita mushrooms, mescaline, ketamine, loperamide (Immodium), di-flouroethane (computer duster) and other inhalants, nitrous, MDMA, meth-amphetamine, ephedrine, methylphenidate, cocaine, piperazines, 2C-E, 2C-I, methylone, pentylone (bkh-MDMA), 4-Acetoxy-DMT, 4-Methoxy-PCP, MDPV, various other unknown “bath salt” chemicals, Salvia, Yerba Mate, tobacco, catnip, wild lettuce, coleus, nutmeg, and of course a multitude of synthetic cannabinoid agonists found in various spice products.
Back to the subject at hand, this is how using spice played out for me.
Sometime in 2009, I did experiment with a couple of “first generation” spice products. The difference I am insinuating between first generation and second generation is the first generations were the ones available before the U.S. emergency federal ban on JWH-018, HU-210, CP 47-497, and a couple of other specific chemicals. Most all of these spice products contained the now famous chemical JWH-018. The second generation products appeared after the ban, and contain a much wider variety of chemicals which were not specifically banned. I didn’t really care for the JWH spices and I only used them a couple of times.
After I got kicked out of outpatient rehab in early 2010, I moved out of my parent’s house and into my own apartment. At first I was out to prove my counselors wrong and I curbed my drug abuse to occasional marijuana use. But with all the freedom I had on my own, my drug problem soon reaccelerated. By the summer I was doing DXM again (which is why I went to rehab, but that’s another story!), huffing duster, smoking bud, and throwing beer-pong parties every Friday and Saturday. Then one fateful night in August of 2010, I caught a DUI (luckily they only charged me with alcohol DUI because I did have a slight B.A.C.) charge after passing out while huffing duster and slamming my car into the side walls and guardrails of a major expressway about 5 times. [Erowid Note:
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
Amazingly I wasn’t hurt at all. For some reason, possibly because of intense muscle relaxation, I have not been injured any of the times I wrecked my car or dropped my scooter because of passing out on duster while driving. I passed out on duster while driving a total of 5 times before I finally learned my lesson. I definitely do not condone driving while intoxicated. It is extremely dangerous to oneself and everyone else, and I am extremely
lucky (or maybe even blessed) to have never hurt myself or anyone else.
After multiple hearings and court dates, my actual trial finally came in August of 2011. In order to be able to pass a drug test and look good in court, I decided to stop smoking marijuana about a month beforehand. Now, at this point in time I had become somewhat dependent on cannabis. After a couple of days of craving some kind bud, I remembered that head shops sold spice. So I went and got some. The first product I bought (The Best) was a very adequate substitute for the real deal, so I began to use it regularly in place of marijuana. My first experience with this particular spice product is as follows:
~8:00pm- I put on my favorite stoning music, The Gorillaz, and I pack one bowl of The Best and begin to smoke it. I noticed that it burned a lot faster and was smoother to inhale than real marijuana.
T+ ~3min- I cannot feel anything. I begin to think this was a huge waste of money and that I should have known better than to trust a head shop product to get me high.
T+ ~5min- BAM. Seemingly out of nowhere, I get hit in the head with a ridiculous marijuana-like high, only it is way more intense than a typical THC high. Although it took quite some time (longer than weed) to come on, the spice high did accelerate quickly after I could first feel it.
T+ ~6-20mins- My mind is swimming in a wonderful swirl of colors and feelings. I realize that I am almost too high. Throughout my whole climax I am laughing hysterically and uncontrollably by myself in my apartment as I watched a rainbow of colors and whimsical images pass behind my eyes.
T+ ~30mins- The effects are starting to wear off. I was still high but I could definitely tell the decent had begun.
T+ ~1 hour- Totally back to baseline.
I ended up on probation as a result of the DUI, so I could not safely smoke bud. After the first experience, I continued to use the spice, every once in a while. For the first couple of weeks I found that I did not need much of it and did not need to do it all the time. The high was satisfying. However, after my tolerance began to build, the high I got from spice began to be less and less intense (but certainly still mind altering). At this point I thought that using this product would be a good bridge to get over probation, and then I would immediately go back to weed. I would soon learn that this was not the case as my addiction to spice progressed.
Over the next few months (~September 2011 until November 2011), I continued to try out different spice products. Eventually, I began to find the high I got from spice to be more and more short lived. Soon experiences began to last only 15-20 minutes before I was abruptly no longer high. So I began to use more and more of the spice each time, and I began to use it more and more times per day. I progressed from smoking one skimpy bowl per day to smoking multiple full bowls or a couple of fat joints many times in one day.
After a while (~December 2011) I stumbled onto my favorite spice product, SEXY. This “exotic herbal potpourri” was by far the most potent and most intense of all the spice brands I had previously tried. I now speculate that it may have been AM-694, but I have no idea. Almost every experience with this one was pseudo-hallucinogenic (intense CEVs & dissociation). I found that SEXY got me almost as dissociated from reality as a 2nd plateau DXM trip, except it only lasted about 15 minutes rather than hours. I became obsessed with this particular brand. Soon I was going through 3-7 grams of it every single day. At this point in time I had totally absorbed the habit of spice smoking into every aspect of my life. I smoked it first thing in the morning, before and after every single one of my college classes, right before and right after work, and virtually any other spare time that I had. I was smoking it while I was driving, in public places, and everywhere else.
After a month of heavily abusing SEXY, I had a sort of mental breakdown. Although I was somehow still maintaining As and Bs in my classes, my brain was fried. I felt like I was becoming schizophrenic. I began to get delusional and started hearing and seeing things that weren’t real. In addition to the SEXY, during this whole time I had been heavily abusing DXM as well (probably at least 3 nights a week) and any other drugs I could get my hands on. When I first began my spice adventure, I did not combine spice with other drugs because of my fear of unknown drug interactions. However, by this time, I had begun to smoke spice while I was on DXM, LSD, and other drugs. That’s when things got a little crazier.
By the end of 2011, my drug abuse had elevated to a dangerous level. I was totally controlled by spice. It was like I needed it every waking minute just to function. I couldn’t pay attention in class, study, or effectively do anything without being high. Then I reached my breaking point. In December 2011, I decided my drug use had become an issue; I tried to stop a few times on my own, but I always ended up getting depressed and ultimately even more drugged out. The following experience is an excellent example of just how bad it got.
January 2, 2012.
On New Year’s Eve, my mom caught me smoking spice at our neighborhood campout. Other than about a gram that I cunningly concealed, she confiscated all three bags that I had (yes I know at this point I am almost 22, but I still gotta respect my mom’s authority). The next day (the 1st) my mom convinced me to stay at their house all day and that night. Because I had secretly finished off the spice I had hidden on New Year’s Eve, I did have any at all on the 1st. So by the 2nd I was seriously itching to get high. Once I came home from my parent’s house, I decided to resolve that issue.
4:00 pm- I get home after stopping by the head shop for some spice. I rolled two huge joints and went to town. I guess due to the massive tolerance I had built and the fact that the one I was currently using (Sexy Killer) was not incredibly potent, I didn’t really feel high at all.
4:15 pm- I roll another J and try to feel some sort of high. This was to little avail.
4:30 pm- I decide to walk down to the store (while smoking more spice) to get some triple Cs which is DXM and CPM (an anticholinergic deliriant) in the same pill.
4:50 pm- I take 16 CCC pills with 32oz of Powerade. That’s 480 mgs of dextromethorphan and 64mgs of CPM. [Erowid Note:
Most Coricidin contains CPM (Chlorpheniramine Maleate) which can be dangerous in high doses. See DXM Brand Warnings for more info.]
5:00 pm- I smoke another joint of spice. I’m still hardly high at all and it is starting to get on my nerves.
5:20 pm- I arrive at my apartment and lay down to wait for the DXM to come up. With my previous trips on DXM, it generally took about 2 hours for me to feel it, then I would smoke spice and a cigarette to really make the DXM kick in.
7:15pm- Oddly I’m not really feeling the DXM at all. Like nothing. I had smoked my spice and a cigarette. Still nothing. I find this to be very odd because even with my tolerance I did still trip a little bit off 480mgs of DXM, especially with CPM and spice potentiating the dissociation. At this point, I get rather angry because I just want to be high and the drugs I have taken do not seem to have any effect.
7:20 pm- I decide to take a 1 mg clonazepam sublingually. In previous experiences, clonazepam intensified the confusion/dissociation effect of the hallucinogens that I was trying to achieve.
7:30 pm- Still virtually no euphoria or altered state of mind. I drink a beer in frustration.
7:45 pm- Even with the beer and clonazepam, I still am not feeling high. I have been smoking cigs periodically throughout this time. Now I am getting extremely frustrated. One of the reason I love drugs so much is the instant gratification. Psychoactive substances generally do their job every time, on time.
8:00 pm- I roll another joint of spice and embark for the liquor store (walking of course, by this point I had learned my lesson with DUIs).
8:20 pm- I arrive at the liquor store and purchase a pint of whiskey with the intent of having a lot left for a later time. I took a swig and started back home.
8:30 pm- I think “Shit. What have I gotten myself into?” After a little while of walking, I realized that all the drugs were indeed starting to have an effect. I am getting seriously fucked up very suddenly. I decide to stop at a bus stop and take what I planned to be the final swig of the liquor, just for good measure. Taking that last swig was the last thing I remember that night. I blacked out.
During the time I was blacked out, I unintentionally drank the rest of the pint of liquor and took 8 more clonazepam (the clonazepam re-dose is just a guess, there were 8 more gone the next day; I might have just spilled them or something). Lucky for me, my over protective mother decided to call me while I was blacked out. When I answered the phone I was breathing but was unable to talk to her. She became concerned and rushed down to my apartment. Apparently, I actually took the care to lock the door behind me and my mom didn’t have a key. She freaked out and called 911 because she couldn’t get me to respond over the phone. It’s a good thing she did because I had majorly overdosed. I think my heart may have actually stopped at one point, but the paramedics revived me. After a brief lapse back into consciousness while the EMTs flushed the drugs out of my blood in the back of the ambulance, I woke up 12 hours later in the hospital.
This experience opened my eyes to the fact that I had serious a problem, I checked myself into a 5-day Detox program. My psychological (and I think possibly physical as well) dependence on synthetic cannabinoid agonists was very difficult to get over. In addition, I had done enough DXM to actually display withdraw symptoms of physical addiction to DXM (if you read up on DXM, this is relatively uncommon; most people do not use DXM in quantities which are sufficient to cause this, however at this point I was doing 800-1500 mgs every night). So after the first two days of going through withdraw in the detox center (which was more like a prison), I finally felt okay. Over the next 3 days, I convinced myself that a really did not need drugs anymore, especially not DXM and spice. That mentality lasted about a week, until I was overcome by the demon inside me. So I smoked spice and I was right back to where I was.
Although I rekindled my spice dependency to the level it had been before, I have managed to stay of hard drugs like DXM ever since the detox (almost 6 months now!). So I went on smoking spice. By this time I didn’t even want to go back to weed. I liked spice better. So I smoked it all day everyday for another few months.
Then April rolled around. The governor decided to sign a bill to immediately ban any and all spice products from being sold in my state. When I went to restock my spice the next time, it was gone. I was pretty mad. I subsisted on hitting resin from my bowl for a couple of days. At this time, my doctor prescribed me lisdexamfetamine in order to function at school. I was so dependent on getting high before class; I started failing once I had no more spice. So for about a week I went without spice.
Then I discovered that a tobacco shop in the next state over still sold it. So I started traveling to the neighboring state to buy spice. That might sound really bad, but the border is only about 15 minutes away. So once I found the spice again, I started combining it with my lisdexamfetamine. That was a bad idea. The spice I found across the border was weird (called Green Magic). I had become accustomed to spice raising my heart rate and blood pressure, but this new spice really made my circulatory system and my heart feel stressed. The amphetamines in my system only exacerbated these effects. One time I smoked a joint of it while on my lisdexamfetamine and I swore I was having a heart attack. What I experienced was probably not a heart attack, but it sure scared the crap out of me. Soon after smoking my J, my heart started racing unreasonably fast. It felt weird. It was like my heart was pounding out of my chest. I started to feel really faint and I couldn’t catch my breath. Then I felt an overwhelming sense of doom and panic come over me. As I mentioned before, I have a lot of previous experience with very twisted mind states. However, I have never had a panic attack or any other “freakin’ out” response from drugs. This feeling of panic I had after smoking that day was unlike any feeling I have ever had. I think that was the just about the only time in my life I have experienced sheer terror. The only thing I could think to do was drink as much water as I could. I guess I figured if I had a clot, excessive water rushing into my blood would flush it out. There probably isn’t much scientific basis for that decision, but I don’t know. I chugged 4 16oz. glasses of water as fast as I could. After about 10 minutes, the concentration of the spice in my blood fell and I felt better. I decided I learned my lesson and I threw the rest of that one away. Of course the next day I just went and bought a different brand of spice.
So, that brings us to the present (May 2012). I have still been smoking my latest brand (Fire), but not as much as I have been previously. That is probably due to the fact that it is extremely potent. It only takes a few hits in order for me to feel this one. One 3 gram bag actually lasted me for an entire week. Now the governor of the next-door state has also banned all spice products. Right before the ban, I went and bought 3 packs of the stuff. I’ve been trying to ration it because I probably won’t be able to get it again. It really bums me out. For some reason I really, really love spice. On a positive note, the new comprehensive bans will probably be effective at stopping my addiction to synthetic cannabinoids.
For the most part I have stopped mixing amphetamine and synthetic cannabinoid agonists. The “third generation” spices have now come out. It seems no matter what the law does they cannot fight synthetic drugs. The ones in my state work, but they suck. It’s a five minute rush and then nothing and tolerance built fast. Fire is still on the market but it’s different. I found one I like called Cloud Nine Platinum. I’m not entirely sure that it is even cannabinoid agonists they are using any more. This one kind of makes me trip, but in a weird way. I’m back to smoking it all day, every day. Half way through the month I went to a music festival and took ten hits of LSD and lost my mind. I went totally bipolar and at times, suicidal. I decided to stop doing drugs period. That lasted for forty-eight hours, then I was right back to the spice.
Late June 2012
It has come to my attention that the senate and the house have both approved a bill to ban all spice products and any and all chemicals used to make them on a federal level in the United States. The president has the opportunity to sign the bill into law on July 4, 2012. I had to think fast if I wanted to continue using my favorite drug. Luckily, the guy I had been getting it from regularly told me what the chemical that was in Fire was. AM-2201; (1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole), is a research chemical that acts as a potent but unselective agonist for the cannabinoid receptor CB1, with a Ki of 1.0nM at CB1 and 2.6nM at CB2. So I ordered 3 grams from an online vender. It was surprisingly easy.
June 30-July 1, 2012
My AM-2201 arrives. I immediately try it and it is wonderful. Because of its high, unselective binding affinity to CB receptors, I should be careful of how much of this I am doing. Also, apparently the fluorine metabolite of one of the functional groups may be slightly toxic. Yet I have been doing it non-stop for the past two days (probably 10-15 times a day!).
July 4, 2012
This date has not occurred yet, but it is one that I certainly dread. More than likely my twisted addiction to spice will have to come to an end. I will probably ration the pure stuff I have, and I may even order more before this dreadful day arrives. However, that will only delay the inevitable fact that the drug I have loved the most will not ever be available again. And knowing my ways even the pure powder will not last long. Damn. The pure stuff is good but I have grown tolerant to it as well, in only a couple days.
I have a couple of goals in writing this experience. Firstly, because the long term effects of spice are largely unknown, I felt that my story can be a useful tool for anyone who wants to know more about these mysterious drugs. It has been almost a year since I started using it and I feel as though I have a good grasp on the effects of these drugs. My second goal of writing this report is to hopefully let future readers gain a better understanding of what experimenting with these drugs can lead to. I don’t want to make anyone’s decisions for them; I just want people to know how things turned out for me. Personally, I would not recommend abusing totally unknown, unregulated, and powerful psychoactive chemicals as I have. Hopefully any prospective spice user who reads this will be different than me. I don’t trust that other people’s experiences will pan out similarly for me; I have to experience situations for myself in order to learn a lesson. People told me not to do spice, but I didn’t listen. If you just have to do spice for yourself to figure out what I have, then that is your prerogative. However, I do hope that my experience will be a lesson someone else will not have to experience for themselves. The last reason I decided to write this was just for my own sanity. As I feel my time of uninhibited drug abuse is coming to a close, it feels good just to tell my story and get it off my chest.
Although I don’t have any medically diagnosed problems which have resulted from my spice use, I do have a few random ailments which I believe are outcomes of smoking so much spice. The most noticeable effect it has had on my body is what it did to my lungs. Now I have a constant need to cough. Also, for the past few weeks I have been coughing up, literally BLACK mucus (along with a slur of other gross brownish colored mucus) from deep in my lungs. It sucks. Trying to cough that nasty stuff out hurts! I have a sharp stabbing pain in my left lung which comes and goes. I have also started to notice that I have random, sharp pains in my joints (specifically my wrists and finger joints) which come and go. Sometimes these pains occur very suddenly and at seemingly random times. I have also noticed that I have a lot more trouble with constantly being sick than I used to. This probably has something to do with the fact that most of the spice chemicals bind to CB2 receptors in addition to binding to the CB1 receptors in our bodies. CB1 receptor agonism is primarily responsible for the psychoactive aspect of these chemicals. CB2 receptors play a major role in the immune system and are typically not agonized by the marijuana cannabinoids. I don’t really know what the activation of my CB2 receptors has been doing, but it probably isn’t good. Also, after I smoke it, my kidneys hurt. I don’t think my body can process much more of these chemicals. Hopefully my body can heal any damage I have inflicted. Although I cannot confirm it, I think these symptoms have been a direct result of spice use. I didn’t have these issues before I started regularly consuming spice. On a minor note, I have also had trouble remembering specific appointments, obligations, and other similar events which had been previously scheduled.
The other major consequence I have experienced is unreasonable addiction. Although I have struggled with substance abuse before, I have usually felt I could exercise some amount of self control over abusing drugs. Synthetic cannabinoids are a different story. I feel so unreasonably addicted to these chemicals. It’s like I just cannot do without it. I smoke it even when I don’t want to. When I run out I go into robot mode and it’s like my subconscious is autonomously going to buy it, even when my conscious thought is screaming to not do it. It’s almost just a subconscious part of who I am now, which is not cool. This is easily the most addictive thing I have ever done. I feel out of control, but I really struggle to do something about it. I have probably spent at least $4000 or $5000 on spice in just under a year.
Over my journey with spice there have been some relatively good outcomes. One positive outcome has been that my mental faculties do not seem to have been effected in a negative way. People say doing drugs makes the user stupid or “melts your brain”, but I have not noticed any decline in my intellectual capabilities as a result of my spice abuse. Actually, I made all As last semester. My GPA is still at 3.3. Of course I don’t think this is normal. Most people cannot function in upper level college courses on drugs, yet I seem to excel in academics while I am constantly high. No amovtivational syndrome or any significant slipping of my daily responsibilities has occurred. In fact, to a certain degree, I feel like I have expanded my consciousness to a higher level than it was prior to smoking spice. It may sound weird (in fact I know it sounds weird...) but I think I have been having some sort of premonitions. It’s not like seeing the future exactly, it’s more like my brain automatically processes situations faster and I can make very intuitive guesses as to what is about to happen. I guess it could just be a delusion, but I have had some oddly coincidental thoughts just a few minutes prior to events occurring. It’s hard to describe! Also a positive (at least to me), I have been ridiculously high nearly every waking moment of the day for the past year. That has been fun. I also have learned a good bit about who I am through these various escapades.
My overall conclusion: even though spice is super fun, feels fantastic, and is really easy to obtain, it just is not worth it to smoke this stuff. The danger of the drugs in spice lies in the fact that there is no scientific data on their effects on humans. Smoking spice, or using any research chemical, certainly comes with the risk of unknown consequences. Very soon the U.S. federal government will ban any and all chemicals which are CB1 agonists. So these drugs may not be the massive novelty they have become. Finally, this would never be a problem for anyone if there was no senseless prohibition of real cannabis in our country. No one would ever smoke this crap if natural weed was just as available and didn’t land you in prison.
Hope you enjoyed my tale.
P.S. As I went to put the finishing touches on this I smoked a lot of the AM. Then I puked. This stuff is bad news bears.
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Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.