Monday, March 18, 2013

K2 & Synthetic Marijuana: Get the Facts

K2, also known as “spice,” is smoked like marijuana (THC), and although it is said to mimic the marijuana high, can cause severe hallucinations, dangerous seizures, cardiac aberrations, extreme anxiety and intense paranoia. Death from overdose occurs, and addiction is common. • K2 or "spice" is an herbal blend (sold in small bags of dried leaves), sprayed with synthetic compounds that behave similarly to the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana. It is sold as incense and often marked, “not intended for human consumption,” to protect the sellers from prosecution. But, users don’t heed the warning and it is being marketed to teens as a way of getting high. * K2 is relatively inexpensive, widely available; it’s even sold at some convenience stores and gas stations. * The dried herbs come in 3-gram packages of various flavors, including "Blonde," "Pink," “Peach,” "Bizarro," "Citron," and "Summit." • Teenagers have been hospitalized, suffered severe hallucinations, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death. • K2 effects the body 5-10 minutes after use, and the effects last longer than THC. • K2 is unable to be detected in blood or urine (tests for K2 are not widely available), does not effect pupil size, produces rigid muscle tone. Authorities are very concerned . . . Some Asian and European countries, including France, Austria and Germany, already banned these products. Now the U.S. has taken action as well, and K2 has been banned by the US federal government. However, in many states, including Massachusetts, it is still legal to sell and use K2. Several towns, such as Fall River and Lynn, have implemented their own ordinances that act as a ban. Is K2 safe? 
"K2 may be a mixture of herbal and spice plant products, but it is sprayed with a potent psychotropic drug and likely contaminated with an unknown toxic substance that is causing many adverse effects. These toxic chemicals are neither natural nor safe," according to Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology at Saint Louis University. Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, also commented on the appeal to college students because it is a legal drug. "They don't have a sense of their own mortality yet. And with this, they're not going to get thrown in jail. It's got a lot of appeal." The drug is beginning to show up in schools in the United States and has been potentially linked to deaths related to its use. Some athletes are drawn to it because of the difficulty in detecting use. Recently, a Dallas teen who reportedly used K2 died from suspected effects of the drug. In Indiana, a young mother was reported dead after using the K2 drug. The Medical News reports that calls are coming into poison control centers all over the country about the use of K2. Sources/more information: