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How Long Does Spice / “K2” Stay In Your System?

Spice and “K2” refer to various retail products containing herbs laced with synthetic cannabinoids.  The synthetic cannabinoids within Spice and K2 are often considered functionally similar to THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannbinol) derived from cannabis in that they bind to cannabinoid receptors within the brain, and act as agonists.  This cannabinoid receptor agonism facilitates intoxicating effects similar to (and often greater than) those derived from smoking cannabis.

The potency of ingredients within various Spice/K2 formulations range from several-fold as potent as THC, to several hundred-fold more potent than THC.  Considering the potency of Spice/K2, along with the fact that many blends consist of federally unrestricted research chemicals (in a legal “grey area”), it is no wonder that they’ve become increasingly popular.  Adolescents, psychonauts, and others in search of THC-like intoxication may use Spice or K2 blends to attain a “high” without significant legal risk.

That said, many Spice or K2 synthetic blends are associated with risk of serious adverse effects including: brain fog, cognitive impairment, drug-induced psychosis, mood swings, neurotoxicity (brain cell loss), perceptual changes, personality changes, and even death.  Due to these risks, many former Spice and K2 users have opted to stop using synthetic cannabinoids.  If you’ve made the commitment to stop using Spice or K2, you may wonder how long the chemicals are likely to stay in your system after your last hit.

How long does Spice / K2 stay in your system?

Due to the significant variation in chemical composition of synthetic cannabinoids marketed as “Spice” or “K2,” it is unclear exactly how long they’ll stay in your system after complete discontinuation.  After stopping, you may notice that various side effects you experienced while using Spice or K2 linger and you may suspect that the drug is still in your system.  The truth is that although it is theoretically possible that the drug (or various chemicals may remain in your body for awhile after stopping), they are unlikely to remain for an extended duration.

The lingering effects you experience after stopping Spice or K2 are generally a result of drug-induced neurophysiological changes that were endured as a result of drug ingestion.  In other words, when you took the drug (even if just once), they may have altered various aspects of your neurophysiology, shifting it far away from its homeostatic baseline.  It may take awhile to recover from these alterations, and as a result, individuals mistakenly believe that the drug is still somehow in circulation or stored within their body.

That said, there is some information that has been published regarding the elimination half-lives of chemicals such as JWH-073 and JWH-018.  JWH-073, for example, has an elimination half-life of 74.2 minutes.  This indicates that it would take approximately 6.8 hours for your body to clear the substance from systemic circulation post-ingestion.

By comparison, the chemical JWH-018 has a shorter-lived half-life of just 22.9 minutes.  With this information we can estimate that JWH-018 is likely to remain in systemic circulation for just 2.1 hours after your final dose – indicating that it gets eliminated rapidly.  Since there are hundreds of potential compounds that may be included in “Spice” or “K2” in any given batch, it remains ambiguous as to how long either substance is likely to stay in a user’s system.

Another popular ingredient in Spice and K2 is the chemical “AM-2201.”  The half-life of this substance isn’t documented in humans, but is approximately 60 minutes in rats.  This would indicate that in the body of a rat, AM2201 is likely to be eliminated in under 6 hours.  From this information it is impossible to conclude whether the half-life would be shorter or longer in humans.

In addition to JWH-073, JWH-018, and AM2201 – other popular ingredients within Spice/K2 include Cannabicyclohexanol and HU-210.  Although these substances are under scientific investigation, their pharmacokinetic profiles aren’t fully elucidated, therefore we cannot conclude how long they are likely to remain in systemic circulation following administration.  That said, most speculate that nearly all synthetic cannabinoids exhibit substantially shorter half-lives than THC.

Acute marijuana users are likely to retain THC metabolites for approximately 4 to 7 days after ingestion, whereas chronic/long-term users may retain THC metabolites for up to 60 days after their final dose.  Though 60 days is an extreme example of how long THC metabolites may linger in the body after long-term/chronic marijuana ingestion, synthetic formats of marijuana do not contain actual THC.  Since they do not contain actual THC and stimulate cannabinoid receptors with synthetic research chemicals, the elimination is much faster.

Furthermore, since the potency of these chemicals may be several hundred fold that of THC, lower dosages are ingested by comparison.  As a result of lower dosages ingested, coupled with the shorter half-lives of synthetic cannabinoids, they are more difficult to detect after administration.  Based on current evidence, it is likely that most forms of Spice and K2 will get eliminated from systemic circulation within 24 hours of administration, and will be fully excreted via urine and feces within 72 hours.

  • Source: https://legal-high-inhaltsstoffe.de/sites/default/files/uploads/jwh-073.pdf
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26397760
  • Source: Source: http://www.norchemlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Norchem-Spice-and-Salts-Fact-Sheets.pdf

Variables that influence how long Spice (or K2) stays in your system

Though based on known half-lives of JWH-073 and JWH-018, we can estimate how long each is likely to remain in a user’s system after ingestion, many chemicals within Spice or K2 have unknown pharmacokinetic profiles.  Furthermore, even if we were able to pinpoint the specific pharmacokinetics of every major ingredient within Spice/K2, there would still be slight variance in elimination speeds.  When attempting to estimate how long Spice/K2 stays in your system, it is necessary to consider: chemical composition/ingredients of the batch, the individual taking the drug, frequency of administration, dosage, and whether other drugs were simultaneously ingested.

  1. Spice/K2 ingredients

There are hundreds of potential ingredients that may be included within batches of Spice or K2.  That said, most individuals are concerned with how long the main psychoactive ingredient and its metabolites are likely to remain in their system after administration.  The most popular synthetic cannabinoids sold within Spice/K2 blends include:

  • AM-2201
  • Cannabicyclohexanol
  • HU-210
  • JWH-015
  • JWH-018
  • JWH-019
  • JWH-073
  • JWH-081
  • JWH-122
  • JWH-133
  • JWH-210
  • JWH-250

As was already mentioned, the elimination half-lives of these substances aren’t well understood in humans.  Each major psychoactive ingredient found within a batch of Spice/K2 is likely to be eliminated at a slightly different rate than others.  Though most forms of Spice/K2 may exhibit short elimination half-lives, one batch based around the ingredient of JWH-018 would likely remain in your system for only around 2 hours after administration, whereas a batch based around the chemical JWH-073 would likely linger for up to 7 hours after ingestion.

Two people may buy substances marketed as “Spice” or “K2,” yet the pharmacokinetics of one individual’s batch may be entirely different based on the chief psychoactive ingredient.  If someone was to ingest a batch of Spice with AM-2201 as the primary ingredient, they’d likely form different metabolites and retain the drug for an entirely different duration than someone who ingested HU-210.

Additionally, it is necessary to consider percentages of other (secondary, tertiary, and trace) exogenous ingredients within a Spice/K2 batch.  It is understood that not all batches will consist solely of one ingredient such as JWH-073.  Some may contain JWH-073 along with 30 other research chemicals in varying amounts.  Others may contain JWH-073 and just 2 other research chemicals.  The addition of these other chemicals may alter how long Spice/K2 remains in your system after ingestion.

That said, most interindividual variability in Spice/K2 elimination will be a result of the primary active ingredient in the batch.  However, if the chief ingredient happens to be metabolized by various isoenzymes within the liver, and those isoenzymes are inhibited (downregulated) by a concomitant chemical within the Spice/K2 batch, elimination may be prolonged.  On the other hand, it is necessary to consider that a concomitant ingredient could facilitate enzymatic induction of the chief ingredient, thereby expediting metabolism and excretion.

The bottom line is that without knowing the exact percentages of ingredients within any particular Spice/K2 blend, nor their pharmacokinetics, it is nearly impossible to predict how long they are likely to stay in your system.  Preliminary evidence, however, indicates that the elimination of most chemicals within Spice/K2 is likely to be rapid.

  1. Individual factors

Assuming you were able to decipher the exact blend of chemicals received within a batch of Spice/K2 and knew their pharmacokinetic profiles, you could estimate how long the chemicals would remain in your system.  Still, even if the exact same Spice (quantity and ingredient composition) was ingested simultaneously by two individuals, the elimination half-life may appear different for each person.  Differences in elimination speed are usually a result of individual factors such as: a person’s age, their body mass, genetics, hepatic function, and renal function.

Age: Many drugs are eliminated at slower rates among elderly individuals for a multitude of reasons, especially if taken orally.  Though Spice/K2 is commonly inhaled (via smoking or vaporization), some users may decide to eat it or take it in “pill form.”  Though age is unlikely to affect the pharmacokinetics of smokers or vaporizers, it may have a significant effect on oral metabolism.

It is known that those over the age of 65 are unable to metabolize drugs with as much efficiency as younger adults.  Elderly individuals may excrete Spice or K2 at a slower rate as a result of diminished hepatic function, poorer renal function, and reduced physiologic efficiency.  In addition, distribution of various drugs and metabolites is often altered among elderly individuals, thereby possibly contributing to a prolonged elimination term possibly double or triple that of a younger person.

Body mass + Fat (%): It is necessary to consider a person’s body fat percentage when attempting to estimate how long various chemicals are likely to stay in their system.  Usually the more massive an individual relative to the dosage of Spice/K2 they ingest, the shorter the drug (and its metabolites are likely to remain in their system).  This is due to the fact that larger individuals have larger systems that are equipped to handle larger doses than smaller persons.

If a large person and a small individual were to take the same dosage of a K2 blend, the larger person may be likely to eliminate the drug at a faster rate.  That said, another important component to consider when estimating elimination times of drugs is a person’s body fat percentage.  Should any compounds within Spice/K2 be highly lipophilic and accumulate in adipose tissue, individuals with a high percentage of body fat will retain the drug for a longer duration.

On the other hand, if a majority of the compounds are hydrophilic within Spice/K2, the elimination may be quicker among those with a higher percentage of body fat.  This is due to the fact that a high percentage of body fat alters drug distribution in respect to someone with a lower body fat percentage.  Research suggests that most formulations of Spice are in fact lipophilic, meaning they are likely to accumulate among individuals with increased body fat.

Genetics: It is well-known that various isoenzymes facilitate the hepatic metabolism of ingested drugs, especially when administered orally.  It is also known that alleles of certain genes regulate the function of these isoenzymes involved in drug metabolism.  Should any particular ingredient within Spice/K2 be subject to metabolism by a highly polymorphic isoenzyme such as CYP2D6 – significant differences in elimination would be observed in respect to expressed CYP2D6 alleles.

It is possible that someone using Spice/K2 would metabolize an ingredient like JWH-018 faster than another individual based on alleles. Continuing with the hypothetical JWH-018 example, we know that it is metabolized by CYP2C9 and CYP1A2.  Therefore any alleles that decreased CYP2C9 and/or CYP1A2 function may prolong the elimination of JWH-018.  Preliminary research suggests that CYP2C9 and CYP1A2 likely contribute most to metabolism of ingredients within Spice/K2.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22904561
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22405558

Liver function: Orally ingested Spice/K2 products may be subject to hepatic metabolism.  Hepatic metabolism is generally facilitated by isoenzymes within the liver that are influenced by genetics, but also impacted by overall hepatic health.  Someone with cirrhosis of the liver is likely to exhibit decreased function of isoenzymes responsible for metabolizing ingredients within Spice/K2.

Specifically, isoenzyme function of CYP2C9 and CYP1A2 may be compromised in the case of cirrhosis or hepatic impairment.  Usually the elimination is prolonged in direct relation to the degree of hepatic impairment – the greater the severity of impairment, the longer it’ll take to metabolize the drug.  If not administered orally, liver function may not play as big of a role due to the fact that inhaled drugs are not subject to the first-pass effect.

Metabolic rate: It is possible that a person’s BMR (basal metabolic rate) may influence how quickly exogenously administered chemicals within Spice/K2 are excreted.  Someone with a high BMR is burning more energy at rest, and is usually thought to experience a fast excretion of exogenous drugs.  A person with a low BMR is burning less energy at rest, and therefore may have reduced physiologic activity, resulting in slower elimination of exogenous substances.  That said, the role of BMR in elimination of Spice or K2 is unlikely to be clinically significant.

Renal function: It is understood that renal function can influence how long drugs stay in a person’s system.  An individual with renal impairment may not excrete various metabolites of Spice or K2 as efficiently as someone with normative renal function.  Your kidneys are responsible for facilitating a bulk of drug elimination and if their function is impaired, the elimination speed will be prolonged.

Accumulation, reabsorption, recirculation, and redistribution of synthetic cannabinoids may occur among those with severe forms of renal impairment.  Typically the degree to which your kidneys are impaired will reflect the speed of K2 elimination; less impairment equals faster excretion, whereas greater impairment results in increased accumulation and slower excretion.

Urinary pH: Metabolites formed as a result of Spice/K2 metabolism may be excreted quicker as a result of a low urinary pH.  It is known that acidification of urine (characterized by low pH) expedites the excretion of various drugs.  Acidified urine essentially maximizes excretion speed by preventing reabsorption and systemic recirculation of metabolites prior to their elimination.

On the other hand, a person with a highly alkaline urinary pH (high pH urine) may eliminate Spice/K2 metabolites at a slower rate than average.  This hypothesis is based on the fact that certain substances are excreted more slowly than others in the presence of alkaline urine, which allows reabsorption and recirculation prior to elimination.

  1. Route of Administration

The modality by which you administer Spice or K2 can affect its pharmacokinetics.  Most individuals prefer to smoke or vaporize it due to the fact that smoking yields a rapid onset of intoxication and the drug isn’t subject to first-pass metabolism.  However, some users have reportedly ingested Spice/K2 orally.

Smoking: Smoking Spice or K2 is the fastest way to absorb the active ingredients.  Blood levels are likely to peak within minutes of smoking.  The amount of ingredients that are ingested during a smoke session may be subject to interindividual variation based on number of total puffs taken, as well as depth of inhalation.  Someone who inhales as deeply as possible will accumulate more of the primary active ingredient compared to those who take shallow inhalations.

Those who are naive or “first-time” users of Spice are likely to metabolize the smoked chemicals quicker, with blood levels plummeting at a faster pace than chronic users.  Within just several hours of ingestion, a majority of the inhaled chemicals via smoking will have plummeted to low levels within the bloodstream.  Though the “high” is quicker as a result of smoking, the duration of effect may be less than oral administration.

Oral ingestion: Oral ingestion of Spice or K2 isn’t very common, but is likely second most common to inhalation via smoking or vaporization.  The speed of absorption and bioavailability of Spice / K2 following oral ingestion isn’t well documented.  It is likely that many of the ingredients are subject to first-pass metabolism by hepatic isoenzymes.

It is likely that levels of synthetic cannabinoids take longer to peak in the bloodstream after oral administration compared to inhaled routes.  The peak in chemical levels within the bloodstream may be contingent upon the manufacturing of Spice/K2, whether it was engineered to be taken orally, and the strength of certain ingredients.  Those who orally ingest Spice or K2 will likely retain metabolites for a longer duration than individuals who smoke/vaporize it.

  1. Acute vs. Chronic Administration

When contemplating how long Spice or K2 is likely to stay in your system, it may be necessary to consider whether you were an acute/short-term user or a chronic/long-term user.  Someone that ingests a single dose of synthetic cannabinoids in the form of Spice will be unlikely to retain the drug for as long as someone who ingests the drug three times per day.  In addition to frequency (e.g. number of times per day) of ingestion, it is necessary to consider the cumulative term of administration.

A person taking K2 several times per day, every day, for a term of 3 weeks – will likely retain the drug for a longer duration than someone using it just several times per day for a single day.  This is due to the fact that when administered frequently over a long-term, there’s greater potential for accumulation of metabolites within bodily tissues compared to when administered over a shorter term.  Furthermore, many long-term users may increase the dosages of Spice or K2 as a result of tolerance – this may further increase the accumulation of metabolites.

  1. Dosage

It is necessary to consider the amount of Spice/K2 that you administered when considering its elimination half-life.  A high-dose user will likely accumulate a greater number of metabolites post-ingestion than a low-dose user.  This is due to the fact that higher doses yield a greater quantity of the drug circulating throughout the bloodstream.

An increased quantity of the drug in systemic circulation means there’s greater potential for accumulation.  Hypothetically, if a person smoked a half-bag of spice, yet another smoked a full bag, the individual who smoked the full bag would likely eliminate the drug at a slower rate.  Understand that the less Spice you ingest, the faster it should clear from your system.

  1. Co-administered drugs

Though most users of Spice / K2 are satisfied with attaining intoxication solely from synthetic cannabinoids, others may mix these substances with prescription (or illicit) drugs.  Co-administration of pharmaceutical or illicit substances may alter the pharmacokinetics of Spice/K2.  It is impossible to predict how the pharmacokinetics would be altered without knowing the kinetics of the specific batch of Spice nor the specific co-administered agent.

As a hypothetical example, we could assume that a person ingested JWH-018 or AM-2201 in their particular blend of Spice.  These chemicals (JWH-018 and AM-2201) are metabolized principally by CYP2C9 and CYP1A2 isoenzymes within the liver.  Should another drug have been co-administered, it may inhibit or induce function of metabolic isoenzymes CYP2C9 or CYP1A2.

A CYP2C9 or CYP1A2 inhibitor would interfere with metabolism of JWH-018 or AM-2201 and likely prolong elimination half-life.  On the other hand, an inducer would enhance enzymatic function of CYP2C9 or CYP1A2, resulting in faster-than-average elimination.  Examples of CYP2C9 inhibitors include: Amentoflavone, Apigenin, Fluconazole, Miconazole, and Valproic acid, while CYP2C9 inducers include: Rifampicin and Secobarbital.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22904561

Spice/K2: Absorption, Metabolism, Excretion (Details)

Spice is typically smoked as a joint or water pipe, and synthetic cannabinoids are absorbed rapidly by lung tissues.  Most users experience a noticeable effect within just a few minutes of absorption.  Evidence suggests that compounds within Spice are likely highly-lipophilic, and as a result, they are extensively distributed throughout CNS, peripheral, and adipose tissues.

A majority of the chemicals within Spice / K2 are thought to be metabolized within the liver via CYP450 (cytochrome P450) enzymes.  More extensive hepatic metabolism is likely to occur among users who administer Spice orally (as opposed to smoking it).  Oral administration is likely subject to absorption via the gastrointestinal tract, followed by first-pass metabolism in the liver.

Common ingredients within Spice such as JWH-018 and AM-2201 are metabolized by CYP2C9 and CYP1A2 isoenzymes.  Other isoenzymes such as: CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4 contribute to a minor extent in synthetic cannabinoid metabolism. Research suggests that JWH-018 undergoes hydroxylation, forming ring hydroxylated metabolites such as: JWH-018 4-OH, JWH-018 5-OH, JWH-018 6-OH, and JWH-018 7-OH.

It also forms alkyl side chain metabolites including: JWH-018 ω-OH, JWH-018 ω-COOH, and JWH-018 ω-1-OH.  It is unclear how the pharmacokinetic profiles of these metabolites compare to that of the parent compound JWH-018.  That said, it is thought that a majority of an ingested dose will be processed by the kidneys several hours post-ingestion and excreted via urine.  Only a small portion of the drug is likely to be eliminated within the feces.

  • Source: https://www.unodc.org/documents/scientific/Synthetic_Cannabinoids.pdf
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23025133/
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22904561

Types of Drug Tests for Spice / K2

It is possible that Spice or K2 could be detected on a drug screening, however, this screening would need to be advanced and aimed specifically at detecting synthetic cannabinoids.  Most individuals that have used Spice / K2 are worried that they may test positive for THC or fail a standardized SAMHSA-5 screening.  The chemicals within Spice and K2 are not routinely assessed for on a standardized drug test.

Urine tests: It is certainly possible to detect Spice or K2 on a urine test several days after ingestion.  Although the drug itself will have been eliminated from systemic circulation, its metabolites may linger in your urine for several days after cessation.  Chemistry labs estimate that certain synthetic cannabinoids can be detected for up to 72 hours after ingestion.

However, unless you were a long-term/frequent Spice user prior to your urine screening, the drug is unlikely to remain detectable.  Detection difficulties stem from the fact that less Spice is ingested than traditional cannabis, and synthetic chemicals within Spice are thought to exhibit shorter elimination half-lives. Urine is usually examined with liquid-chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) in a laboratory to determine whether any metabolites (e.g. JWH-018 ω-COOH) are present.

  • Source: http://www.norchemlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Norchem-Spice-and-Salts-Fact-Sheets.pdf

Hair tests: Perhaps one of the most effective ways to determine Spice or K2 usage is via collection of a hair sample, followed by a laboratory analysis with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS).  Ingested drugs appear in proximal segments of hair within days of administration (resulting from smoke condensation) and can remain in medial and distal segments for months thereafter.  Due to the long window of detection of synthetic cannabinoids in hair, hair follicle samples may be a preferred test in the future.

Preliminary research suggests that JWH-073 is most commonly detected in hair samples at low concentrations (1.6-50.5 pg/mg) among Spice users, followed by JWH-122 (7.4-2800 pg/mg).  Other chemicals detected in the hair samples of Spice users included: JWH-250, JWH-081, JWH-018, JWH-210, JWH-019, and AM-1220.  It is possible for synthetic cannabinoids to remain detectable for an extended duration in a hair test at concentrations below 50 pg/mg.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24115381
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22835826

Saliva tests: In the future, it may be possible to determine whether an individual is intoxicated as a result of Spice or K2 by collecting a sample of oral fluid.  An oral fluid sample could be assessed with a technological device capable of quantifying levels of various metabolites.  If an individual tests above a certain threshold of metabolites in their saliva sample, it could be then sent to a laboratory for advanced assessment with liquid-chromatography/mass spectrometry methods.

A drawback associated with saliva testing is that the window of detection is shorter than other test modalities.  Research indicates that detection time of various synthetic cannabinoids are subject to variation in oral fluid based on particular brand of the Spice.  For example, JWH-018 within “Blueberry Posh” can be detected within 20 minutes of smoking and remain detectable for over 12 hours, whereas JWH-018 within “Black Mamba” is not detectable for over 12 hours.

It is unlikely that any synthetic cannabinoids would remain detectable for a longer duration than 24 hours in oral fluid of users.  Furthermore, researchers suggest that blood sampling should be preferred for increased accuracy of detection compared to an oral fluid sample.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21871150
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23081933

Blood tests: Another way to determine whether someone has used Spice or K2 would be to collect a blood sample during intoxication.  Although metabolism of synthetic cannabinoids is thought to be rapid, various metabolites may linger in the plasma for 24 to 48 hours after ingestion.  Since urine tests likely provide a longer window of detection, are less invasive, and are of greater feasibility, they’d likely be preferred over blood testing for “Spice” usage.

Who may be tested for Spice or K2?

A variety of individuals may be forced to endure testing for synthetic cannabinoids found in Spice and K2.  Examples of people most likely to be tested for synthetic cannabinoids include: criminals, rehabilitation patients, employees, military members, and some students.  Understand that unless you have a past history of Spice or K2 usage or are a criminal, testing for Spice or K2 is unlikely.

  • Criminals: An individual that is caught selling Spice or K2 may be tested for intoxication for additional charges. In some cases, criminals that are suspected to be intoxicated with a substance that isn’t showing up on a standard SAMHSA-5 panel may be tested for Spice or K2.  If they test positive, they’ll face additional legal penalization.
  • Drug rehab clients: Among rehab patients, especially individuals with a history of Spice usage, testing for synthetic cannabinoids may be implemented. Should a client in rehab test positive for various chemicals such as JWH-018, he/she may be reprimanded and required to stay at the clinic for a longer duration.
  • Employees: Some employers require advanced drug testing to ensure sobriety among employees. Occupations such as pilots, truck drivers, and/or machine operators warrant sobriety.  If a worker is high on synthetic cannabinoids, it could endanger the lives of other workers and/or increase likelihood of costly equipment damage.
  • Military members: Drug testing in the military often fluctuates based on cost of the particular test as well as drug usage trends. It is possible that members of the military may be screened with advanced drug testing panels capable of detecting synthetic cannabinoids.  The military wants its troops to remain sober, and therefore, should an individual test positive for compounds within Spice – he/she may be delisted.
  • Students: Some schools are cracking down on drug usage among minors by issuing mandatory screenings. Though not all schools will test for synthetic cannabinoids, it is possible that certain prestigious schools may require advanced drug screenings for attendance.

Tips to clear Spice / K2 from your system

If your goal is to excrete Spice or K2 metabolites from your system as quickly as possible, below are some tips for you to consider.  Keep in mind that all of the suggestions should be verified for safety and alleged efficacy with a medical professional prior to implementation.  Understand that certain individuals may derive significant detoxification benefit from certain strategies (e.g. supplements), while others may derive no benefit.

  1. Daily exercise: It is understood that most chemicals within Spice / K2 are likely to be lipophilic. As a result, these chemicals can accumulate within fat stores throughout your body. If you have a high percentage of body fat, more metabolites of chemicals such as JWH-018 are likely to remain in adipose tissue for a longer duration.  Getting some daily exercise to burn body fat may have a slight impact of expediting detoxification.
  2. Calcium-D-Glucarate: Nearly every drug is excreted by kidneys via the urine in the form of metabolites. To ensure that your kidneys are working up to their full potential, you could consider supplementing with calcium-d-glucarate regularly. This supplement inhibits beta-glucuronidase, thereby flushing molecules from detoxification pathways in your kidneys, potentially expediting elimination.
  3. Activated charcoal: Another supplement you may want to consider is that of activated charcoal. If any chemicals within Spice remain unmetabolized or toxins were generated as a result of its ingestion, the charcoal adsorbs (binds to them) with its electronic charge. This binding to exogenous substances can aid in systemic elimination speed.
  4. Urinary pH: Should urinary pH have an impact on how long any chemical within Spice or K2 remains in your body, acidification of urine may significantly reduce excretion time. Acidification of urine can be accomplished via dietary modifications or consumption of safe solutions. Overacidification should be avoided as this can lead to acidosis, but the optimal amount may promote quicker excretion of Spice/K2 from your body.
  5. Hydration: Drinking a ton of water after taking Spice is unlikely to have a significant impact on the results of a drug test. However, hydration is likely to have an impact on urinary flow rate. The greater the degree to which you stay hydrated, the increased your urinary flow rate.  An increased urinary flow rate may in turn boost the amount of metabolites that are excreted via your kidneys.

How long has Spice or K2 stayed in your system after stopping?

If you used synthetic cannabinoids, how long did they remain in your system?  Understand that most substances have a short half-life, especially when smoked and are unlikely to remain in systemic circulation for longer than 24 hours.  However, due to their lipophilicity, they may accumulate within fat cells and may be detectable on a drug test for longer than they stay in actual circulation.

For those that have been drug tested for synthetic cannabinoids after using Spice, did you end up passing or failing the test?  How much time had elapsed between the time of your final puff (or ingestion) of Spice and the drug test?  If you failed the drug test for synthetic cannabinoids, mention the specific detection thresholds for the various chemicals, as well as the type of testing that was administered (e.g. a urine test).

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1 thought on “How Long Does Spice / “K2” Stay In Your System?”

  1. My son-in-law ingested a very small piece of brownie that he thought was made with THC oil. Long story short after going into extreme Psychosis, hallucinations, aggression, violence, weird body movements and gestures, high anxiety, slow movements, distorted perception of reality and time and feeling claustrophobic and not being able to eat or sleep for 4 days.

    Symptoms started within 5 mins (anxiety and hallucinations) after being tested for Spice after 88 hours – he was still positive. He had no idea he had even ingested Spice. He sought mental health treatment and ended up getting arrested for assault and resisting arrest.


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