K2 is synthetic cannabis which mimics the properties of marijuana. It is sold as herbal incense or an herbal smoking blend. Though it is not detected in a urine drug test as cannabis, it is possible to detect that someone has used K2. It has grown in popularity very recently because, it was legal, but now it is illegal across the United States.
Because K2 is so new to the U.S., there is insufficient research documented on it effects. It is, however, known that extremely large doses may cause negative effects that are generally not present with marijuana use. These include agitation, vomiting and hallucinations. Additionally, users suffer withdrawal symptoms not affiliated with marijuana. There have been documented cases of psychotic episodes not associated with marijuana use. Psychiatrists attribute these negative factors to the fact that K2 is synthetic.
History of K2
This cannabinoid-like chemical was developed in labs in order to study neuronal receptors found in the body and brain. There were 5 synthetics formed in order to further other research projects. Then in 1980, Pfizer developed Cannabicyclohexanol, yet another form of synthetic cannabais.
All of these forms produced cannabis type effects when ingested. These synthetics were found to have anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties through extensive research at Hebrew University in Israel in 1988. Having analgesic properties, K2 was initially considered for an alternative over the counter pain medication but, because of the complications that quickly ensued, its sale has been banned in the U.S.
Legal vs Illegal
Many countries have already classified K2 as illegal and others are choosing to place regimented control on the drug. The United States, based on the findings of the DEA, Drug Enforcement Agency, considers it to be a “drug of concern”, as there are documented cases of seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure. Before the U.S. as a whole made K2 illegal, several states independently passed laws within their state making it illegal.
As of March 1, 2011, the sale of K2 is now banned nationwide. There is still very little known about the long term effects.
This ban is considered an emergency ban that will be in effect for a full year while the DEA fully investigates the substance and its actions. This emergency act was imminent as its use was posing a threat to public health and safety, according to the DEA. It is expected that this ban will be permanent based on the findings of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Signs of K2 Abuse
Generally speaking, those abusing this substance will deny any negative impact. The following is a list created from extensive research to help spot indicators that a loved one may be using this chemical.
• Negligence of responsibility
• Relationship problems, be it partner, family members, employer, colleagues and even with friends
• Legal trouble, i.e. robbery, disorderly conduct, violence
• Obvious risk taking, driving under the influence, unprotected or unsafe sex, and use of dirty paraphernalia
• Use of drugs despite the knowledge of its dangers or risks
The signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse are different.
Unfortunately, the signs are almost always the same, regardless of the drug.
The symptoms vary, however. Things to look for specifically if K2 or spice addiction is suspected are:
• Profuse sweating
• Manic episodes
• Internal restlessness
• Nausea and vomiting
• Heart palpitations and elevated blood pressure
• Emotional and personality changes
• Feelings of depression or desperation
The most evident indicator of any form of drug or alcohol abuse is denial.
Due to lack of rational and discriminative thinking, the user will not recognize their own addiction until it has manifested major problems, be it health, legal or relationship.
The use and abuse of K2 is a major problem and on the rise even still. There is substantial evidence that it’s use is unsafe. Negative related incidents associated with the use of K2 include driving accidents, attempted suicides, and emergency room visits. Though the words, “Not for human consumption” are printed on every parcel, people continue to ingest the substance.
Our youth, here in the U.S. are severely compromised, and even mature adults are playing rushing roulette with this dangerous substance. It is believed to be a relatively safe drug because it has been sold over the counter and its ingredients flew under the radar on drug test. This is so far from the truth, as proven in the above material. This is not something to be taken lightly. If you suspect someone or are someone who is abusing K2, please seek help immediately. The consequences could mean the loss of life. Call 800-468-6933 for more information.
National Institute On Drug Abuse
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Click here for information on the Narconon detox program.