Sitcoms and Hollywood movies have often placed a comedic slant on smoking marijuana
. Usually the plot involves a stoner guy with a serious case of the munchies laughing hysterically at a cartoon rerun through a cloud of smoke. But there is a new hybrid brand of marijuana that paints an entirely different picture. It's called K2 or “Spice” and it's much more than “fake” weed.A cannabinoid much more potent than marijuana.
K2 is a synthetic cannabinoid and is completely legal in most states. But unlike regular cannabis, many smokers who use it feel anything but mellow. Users that show up in emergency rooms present an array of symptoms ranging from hallucinations to seizures. A number of them have GI upset, increased heart rate, hypertension and extreme agitation. While smoking a lot of marijuana can cause similar symptoms, it's not very often pot smokers wind up in the emergency room. Yet, there has been a consistent climb in the number of patients admitted into the ER with K2 overdose. Easy accessibility.
Part of the problem is that buying K2 is easy. It can be bought over the internet or at any local head shop. It's sold under the name Spice, Spice Gold, or Spice Diamond and costs about $30. As with many of the new hybrid drugs, K2 is marketed as something totally innocuous. In this case, K2 is sold as an incense or herbal mix and is not intended for human consumption.
Spice is actually a combination of several different herbs that have been sprayed with a synthetic marijuana. Why would manufacturers spray incense with marijuana unless they knew very well it would be purchased for smoking? Just like marijuana, Spice can be rolled into a cigarette or smoked through a bong
. And since the companies that make these hybrid drugs don't have regulated quality control, some Spice samples are testing 100 times more potent than regular marijuana.
But, unlike regular marijuana
, a drug test will not detect K2 because the molecular structure has been tweaked. That, plus the fact that it's easy to find, are two reasons why Spice is becoming a popular party drug. What is really disturbing is that hardly any research has been conducted on the possible long-term effects of using hybrid drugs such as K2.
The eyes of the law are following the use of K2 closely, nonetheless. Though it is legal in most states, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas have already outlawed it. Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Texas, and New York report similar legislation in the works.