How Long Can Spice Be Detected in Your System?

A person rolling a blunt

Many people who use Spice or fake weed do not think about how long the drug will stay in their system. They assume that since it is legal, it must be safe. However, spice is metabolized into other compounds in the body and tends to stay a lot longer than you might think.

After using spice myself, I performed several drug tests and talked to a doctor about spice and its effects. I’ll share my insights on how long these compounds can be detected in different body fluids, how they are metabolized, and the factors that affect their elimination.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that are sprayed on dried, shredded plant material to be smoked.
  • K2/Spice is a drug that is said to be safe and produces similar feelings to marijuana. The length of the effects depends on how much is taken and how tolerant the person is.
  • Spice/K2 can be detectable for a long time after it is used because of its long half-life.

What is Spice?

Spice is a drug that was created to act like marijuana. It is a synthetic cannabinoid that is made from human-made chemicals. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, people can smoke synthetic cannabinoids by spraying them on dried, shredded plant material or buy them as liquid incense to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices [1].

How Is Synthetic Marijuana Metabolized In the Body?

Closeup shot of synthetic marijuanaSynthetic marijuana is metabolized in the body by being converted to high levels of glucuronic acid-conjugated metabolites in the urine as a result of extensive glucuronidation within the liver [2].  Keep in mind that different processes break down synthetic cannabinoids more than natural cannabinoids. 

Spice metabolites are hydroxylated within the body, with the cytochrome oxidase pathways being particularly important. This occurs principally within the lungs.

Spice Half-Life

Spice is a type of illicit drug made up of several compounds, making it difficult to determine the drug’s half-life if it stays in your system. New synthetic cannabinoids are created every year, each with its own unique chemical properties, adverse effects, and risks.

The most commonly quoted half-lives for synthetic marijuana are those of the most studied elements. JWH-073, one of the most popularly studied forms, has a half-life of 74.2 minutes. JWH-018, another popular form, has a half-life of around 23 minutes.

This means that it would take approximately 74 minutes for the body to eliminate half of the JWH-073 and 23 minutes to eliminate half of the JWH-018 present in the system [3].

Another vital thing about synthetic cannabinoids is that our bodies quickly break them down. This is because they don’t last long in our cells. Even the metabolites formed are quickly broken down, which is why it’s important to take a Spice drug test soon after someone has taken this drug.

Spice Screening Detection 

Spilled marijuana on a table

Because Spice has a long half-life, it can be detectable for months after use. Spice is a synthetic drug, which means that its components can change. That also makes it hard to detect during the drug testing process. Some standard drug tests may not pick up on Spice at all [4].

However, four types of drug tests can detect Spice: urine drug test, blood drug test, saliva drug test, and hair drug test.

1. Blood Tests

Generally, synthetic cannabinoids can be detected through a blood test only 24-48 hours after ingestion [5]. This makes it difficult to detect and diagnose synthetic cannabinoid poisoning.

2. Urine Tests

There are not many common drug testing procedures that detect Spice/K2 in urine, but some are available. One study showed that the components of Spice could be detectable in a urine test for 152 – 505 days [6].

3. Hair Tests

It is uncertain how long K2 can be detected in hair samples. However, most studies suggest that the metabolites can be seen for up to 90 days after consumption. This may be helpful for long-term addiction testing. Hair samples are not routinely tested because they require more specialized testing techniques.

4. Saliva Tests

Another way to test for synthetic cannabinoid use is by taking a saliva sample. A saliva test can generally detect Spice in the saliva for up to 48 hours after consumption.

However, this figure can vary depending on the particular compound being tested. Therefore, it is only reliable for testing for acute abuse [7].

What Factors Can Affect Spice Elimination?

A person lighting up a smoke

The factors that can affect spice elimination are similar to those that can affect marijuana elimination, such as the amount of time of drug usage, the quality of the product, and how the product was consumed.

Spice is not usually excreted in its original form. It is metabolized and removed through different waste products like urine and sweat. How long Spice stays in your body may differ depending on several factors. These include:

  • The amount of time you have been smoking the product. Those who use a particular drug repeatedly have higher amounts of chemical compounds in their urine, indicating that they are more likely to chronic abuse. 
  • How much of the drug was used. The half-life of a drug is how long it takes for the drug to break down in the body. High doses of Spice will mean that the Spice stays in the system longer.
  • Your overall health. Certain diseases, like liver and kidney disease, make it harder for your body to get rid of toxins.
  • How the drug is taken. The time it takes for a substance to leave your system depends on how you take it in. If you smoke it, it will leave your system faster than if you eat it.
  • The quality of the product. When you mix synthetic cannabinoids with other substances, it may change how the body processes the drug. This could mean that the drugs stay in your system longer.

“Synthetic cannabinoids have chemicals in them that were never meant to be inside the human body.”

– Dr. Anthony Scalzo, Chief of toxicology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Duration of Effects of Spice/K2

The effects of Spice generally last for 1-4 hours. However, the effects can vary depending on the person’s metabolism, how much they took, and what type of Spice they took.

The metabolites of Spice can be detected in the urine for up to 152 – 505 days after consumption. This means that the drug can be detected long after the effects have worn off.

Related Articles:


Can you test False Positive for Spice/K2?

Yes, you can test false positive for Spice/K2. This is because the drug can be similar to other drugs, like THC, tested for in standard drug tests.

What are the options for K2 Spice addiction treatment?

The options for K2 Spice addiction treatment can include cognitive behavioral therapy, drug rehab, contingency management, motivational interviewing, group therapy, and family therapy

Note that all addiction recovery needs to be supervised by licensed medical professionals at an official treatment center.

How can spice abuse impact mental health?

Spice abuse can impact mental health both in short term and long term effects by causing anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and even complex problems such as schizophrenia.

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, seek a healthcare provider with clinical practice and get informed on treatment options immediately.

How To Pass Spice Drug Test?

To pass a spice drug test, make sure to stop the drug use immediately and start the detox process to decrease the time the drug will stay in your system.

If you want to flush out the toxins in the shortest period before undergoing a test, use organic detox brews like Rescue Cleanse on a daily basis to assist you in reclaiming your drug-free system. 

Organic detox beverages, such as Rescue Cleanse, can help you avoid detection, maintain your current job, and keep your body healthy and fit.

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