A clinical report in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International supports the belief that the designer drug “Spice Gold” is strongly addictive.   Ulrich S. Zimmermann from Dresden Technical University and colleagues describe a young man who developed physical withdrawal symptoms after regular consumption, accompanied by a dependence syndrome.

Since January 2009, “Spice Gold” has been subject to the German Narcotics Law, meaning that production, free trade and possession are forbidden, but initially only for a year. There could be a permanent regulation at the end of that time and more information about “Spice Gold” is currently being collected.

When he first came to the hospital, the patient had been consuming “Spice Gold” daily for eight months. Because of the loss of other activity and tolerance build up, he had rapidly increased his daily dose from 1g to 3g. He felt a continuous craving for the drug and continued consuming it despite the cognitive impairment it caused. This led him to neglect his duties at work, though owing to strict German employment law he had not been fired.  

He had a forced abstinence because of supply issues with his drug dealer and this had triggered typical withdrawal symptoms, such as internal unrest, tremor, palpitations, headache, nausea, vomiting, depression and desperation. These symptoms had abruptly disappeared when he started consuming Spice Gold once again. He suffered similar symptoms during drug withdrawal in the hospital.

The authors interpret the symptoms as indicating a typical withdrawal disease, very probably due to the admixture of synthetic cannabinomimetics.

Article: Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106(27): 464–67