We know that Melange is addictive and it's not a mere psychological addiction like in the case of Nicotine; where if you don't smoke it you feel nervous and generally unwell but you won't get seriously sick if going "cold turkey", but it permanently changes your physiology, which means that withdrawal could kill you.

But how long does one have to be exposed to Spice to get addicted to the point of no return? One spiced cake? Few months of regular eating that also turns your eyes blue? And following that, is there a way to break the substance dependency?

The linked question explains the addictive dose but not how often and for how long one would have to use it to create the dependency. For example I could smoke two packets of cigarettes in one day and only get sick, not addicted; smoking few every day (from the same packages) in a period of few weeks would be a serious risk of addiction.

  • 1
    Stay in Great School kids.
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 23:31
  • 1
    Spice - not even once?
    – Yasskier
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 23:59
  • Possible duplicate of What was the typical dose of Spice-Melange? - Herbert said that anything over "two grams daily per seventy kilos of body weight" was "severely addictive"
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 0:08
  • @Valorum two grams daily for a year? Week?
    – Yasskier
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 0:14
  • I can (vaguely) recall Paul or Jessica noting that they are so addicted now that they cannot leave Arrakis, sometime after House Atreides moves there. This happens in the first book. If someone can find the references and reconstruct the timeline, that could serve as an estimation of how long it takes for the Spice addiction to form.
    – void_ptr
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


According to "The Road to Dune" in which we find an alternate (and highly abridged) version of Dune, with different characters but a very similar setting, the strong implication seems to be that addiction is almost immediate, especially when encountering a higher quality source for the first time.

Jesse absorbed the startling comments. He tasted the pleasant burning of spice in his mouth and lungs from the saturation underground, from the cups of spice coffee he'd just finished, from the pure sample he'd tasted. Deep inside himself, he already felt an undeniable twinge of longing, not yet a craving but an insistent whisper that suggested how sweet melange would taste right now. Yes, he could envision it becoming an all-consuming personal need.

As to whether it's possible to break the spice addiction, the answer seems to be a firm "no" unless one is relatively young to begin with and not regularly taking higher dosages.

Despite warnings to keep awareness of addiction low key, it was never more than an eyeblink away from Odrade and she felt the accumulated resentments. Mental preparations as an acolyte (firmly impressed in the Agony) had been eroded by Other Memory and accumulations of time. The admonition: “Withdrawal removes an essential of your life and, if it occurs in late middle age, can kill you.” How little that meant now.

Chapterhouse: Dune

  • 1
    Hmm, that opens the possibility of turning spice into undetectable poison - give unexpected victim a single strong dose (that would go without problems through the poison detectors) and then watch him die from withdrawal symptoms.
    – Yasskier
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 0:57
  • 3
    @Yasskier - For the same money you could hire a dozen professional assassins.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 0:59
  • Yes, but if the target is highly protected... you must learn to think outside the box.
    – Yasskier
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 1:03
  • How would it go through poison detectors? Its smell is unmistakable.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 14:20
  • such a person would likely be wealthy and probably heavily addicted already
    – Naib
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 10:27

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