So just what is K2 or Spice, as they call it on the street? Well, it’s a synthetic cannabinoid. Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive designer drug derived from natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when consumed, allegedly mimic the effects of cannabis, which is known as marijuana. Synthetic cannabis or synthetic marijuana can also be referred to as Bliss, Bombay Blue, Genie, Zohai, JWH -018, -073, -250, Skunk, Yucatan Fire, Black Mamba, Blaze and Moon Rocks. You may be wondering what it looks like. It looks slightly different from marijuana. It looks like a pile of dried leaves. It will sometimes pass as potpourri and often be made to purposefully look like potpourri for the ease of selling it. When packaged, K2 or Spice is usually sold in tiny, silver plastic bags and marketed as incense that can be smoked. When smoked, users place the drug in pipes or twist joints. Other users are also known to make tea out of the drug. This is in relation to users baking marijuana into dessert foods, such as brownies and cakes and eating them to get high.
Short term side effects of K2 will vary depending on what synthetic chemicals are sprayed on the natural herbs. These include lack of pain response, loss of control, pale skin, increased agitation, vomiting, seizures, profuse sweating, elevated blood pressure, uncontrolled/spastic body movements, heart rate and palpitations. After inhaling or ingesting the drug, effects can begin after three to five minutes and the duration of the high lasting anywhere from one to eight hours. In addition to these short-term side effects, uses may experience severe paranoia, dysphoria, delusions and hallucinations. Since the drug is still so new, long-term effects are hard to calculate at this time. You could relate long-term synthetic effects to long-term effects of marijuana, but even those findings are debatable.
Now that marijuana is being legalized in many states on a state level only, where does the government stand on synthetic cannabinoids? The DEA published a final order in the Federal Register on March 1, 2011. The order was to temporarily place five synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. As a result of this order, the full effect of the CSA and its implementing regulations including criminal, civil and administrative penalties, sanctions, and regulatory controls of Schedule I substances will be imposed on the manufacture, distribution, possession, importation and exportation of these synthetic cannabinoids.* See an updated copy of the CSA by clicking HERE.
If you want my opinion, when you’re talking about K2 I hope you’re referring to the mountain. And, when you talk about Spice I hope you’re discussing how dang catchy that old Spice Girls song was back in the early ‘90’s. And of course, test for it. If you have a random program in place, it’s only a few dollars more to add K2 to the panel of drugs you are already screening. For more information on K2 testing, contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Source: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Institute on Drug Abuse, American Association of Poison Control Centers