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Synthetic Marijuana Addiction Relapse: 3 Things You Should Do Right Away

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD on December 26, 2021
If you or a loved one relapsed on synthetic marijuana, there's no need to spiral. Here's how to get back on track.

Different from natural marijuana, synthetic marijuana — also known as K2 or spice — can be even more addictive, as it is a herbal substance laced with chemicals to deliver any type of specific response. In 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) listed 15 variants of synthetic marijuana as Schedule I substances, sharing the list with banned drugs such as heroin and acid. 

As addiction is a chronic issue, relapses can unfortunately happen. Here are three things you should do in the case of a synthetic marijuana relapse.

Understand What Caused the Relapse

You need to figure out what caused the relapse in the first place. What happened in the moments leading up to the relapse? Were you with people or in an environment that contributed to your using? 

“Many factors can cause a relapse,” Courtney Kirkpatrick, a licensed professional clinical counselor, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “In the recovery community, we often hear of staying away from people, places, and things. While this is true, the emotions around people, places, and things also need to be explored.”

With synthetic marijuana subtly sold in places like convenience stores and gas stations and its dangers often misunderstood by the general public, understanding the emotional ties surrounding the environment, people, and things associated with your relapse can help set boundaries and avoid triggers in the future.

Create a New Recovery Plan 

Formulating a new recovery plan can help ensure a relapse does not happen again. Each case of synthetic marijuana addiction can be unique, so finding a personal plan that relates to you is important.

“Creating a recovery plan means taking a look at what’s working and what’s not,” says Courtney Tracy, LCSW, PsyD, a licensed clinician and therapist and owner of Good Heart Recovery in Santa Barbara. “A recovery plan needs to include both what to avoid and what to move towards.”

Writing a detailed outline that consists of your triggers, compiling an emergency contact list, and forming healthy coping mechanisms can be a few exemplary methods in structuring a new plan.

Seek Support

At times, it can be hard to cope with your addiction alone. Your support team, whether it is your family, friends, or a support group can be a great resource in restoring your commitment to recovery. 

“The first place to seek help after a relapse would be from any supportive friends or family members and any current providers of therapy or medication or spiritual growth that you may be receiving,” Tracy says.

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one is struggling with synthetic marijuana addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is another resource to check  out if you think you need help.

Understanding Marijuana Addiction