When K2 hit the market, there were potheads across the country that got excited. Finally, there was an alternative to marijuana that was legal and wouldn’t lose you your job if you smoked a little on the weekends.
But, as many soon found out, K2 is not nearly as much like marijuana as people thought, and much more dangerous.
What Is K2?
Commonly called either K2 or Spice, it is a potpourri like substance that is marketed as a synthetic THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. This man-made chemical is sprayed on an herbal mixture that often contains lettuce and other mild herbs and plants.
Other chemicals are added, and packages of K2 have been found with chemical structures similar to incense. Most K2 also contains oleamaide, a chemical used in manufacturing plastic, that has a long half-life, making the effects of K2 last longer than marijuana. If you’re in need of drug and alcohol treatment and don’t know where to turn, call 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) to find immediate help.
What Does K2 Do?
Although K2 does have synthetic chemicals that bind to the brain’s cannaboid receptors (the same receptors that THC binds to), it has at least six other psychoactive chemicals that impact other areas of the brain. This means that while it sometimes gives users a similar high as marijuana, it does much more and has a wider brain impact.
Because there are no regulations on how K2 is made, every package could contain different chemicals at different strengths. Sometimes, people smoke K2 with no ill effects, but then they have a bad experience. They may begin to have psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, and extreme anxiety and paranoia. The drug also increases heart rate, and when users start panicking, the heart rate can reach dangerous levels.
Is It Illegal?
When K2 first hit the market, it was not illegal. Marketed as an herbal potpourri, all K2 packages are labeled “Not for Human Consumption,” which made it so there were no regulations that had to be meant, and K2 never passed through the hands of the FDA, because it was neither a drug nor a food.
Yet K2 use rose, and when more and more police departments and hospitals were faced with overdoses and bad reactions, some states started making the chemicals found in K2 illegal. Although state and federal governments are tying to regulate the substance, it’s still making its way to the streets.
Not as popular as it once was, K2 use still remains prevalent, especially among America’s youth. In 2010, K2 reached it’s height with nearly one-third of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 reported trying it. In 2014, use dropped, with only 5.4 percent of 12th graders reporting regular use.
Because it’s available at the store, and kids can just walk in and buy it, they don’t understand the risks involved and how dangerous smoking Spice can really be. When questioned about the drug, most students didn’t know it was dangerous or could be fatal.
If you or someone you love is in need of drug and alcohol treatment, call 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) today to get immediate help you need. It may just save your life.