Spice, K2: Getting High On Synthetic Marijuana
Is it legal to smoke synthetic marijuana?
Clandestine laboratories have been making a variety of drugs known as synthetic cannabinoids. These drugs are known on the streets by the names, “spice” and “k2”. While very different from the naturally occurring chemical, THC, found in marijuana, these synthetic drugs act on the same central nervous system cannabinoid receptors. So, why not just smoke real marijuana? One reason is that these synthetics often slip through legal loopholes and are sold over-the-counter in gas stations, convenience stores and online. Stores label the packages as being “not for human consumption” and may market them as being incense. Another reason users seek out these addictive drugs is that they are far more potent than smoking any sort of natural cannabis.
If K2 is a synthetic chemical, why does it look like plant material?
While spice is very much a chemical made in a lab, it is often distributed in a form that may resemble marijuana. This is done by spraying the chemical on inactive plant material. The user then may smoke synthetic marijuana in the same way they would smoke natural marijuana. It is literally, fake weed.
What effects does K2/Spice have on the brain when smoked?
Spice drugs are cannabinoids which stimulate the cannabinoid receptors, producing psychoactive effects similar to marijuana, but much more intense. For example, the user may have hallucinations and euphoria. There are often side effects and health risks as well, including elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate. When quitting spice, users may suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
How addictive a drug is spice?
Spice use has been widespread because it was relatively easy to obtain and it was legal, until recently. Federal, state and local governments have been cracking down on these dangerous synthetics and use has dropped significantly. Spice is going from being a gray-area legal substance to being an illegal controlled substance. Most users of spice/k2 already had a history of drug use before picking up this new psychoactive substance. So, it is not likely for a drug user to suffer only from spice addiction. Most likely, they will have a history of addiction to other substances as well. Spice may not be as addictive as drugs like crack, crystal meth, heroin, and fentanyl, but it is far more addictive THC.
Spice, K2, and Fentanyl.
I have brought this up in before, yet it bears repeating. Any street drug may be either contaminated with fentanyl or even replaced by fentanyl. Currently, illegally imported fentanyl analogs are flooding the streets. They are cheap and readily available. Drug dealers are aware that users just want to get high and probably won’t know the difference between a synthetic cannabinoid and fentanyl, or a combination of the two. However, the distinction is critical. While spice/K2 is a dangerous substance, fentanyl is far more deadly. Smoking plant material sprayed with fentanyl is a recipe for disaster. If you buy spice on the streets, there is no way to know if it is fentanyl unless you test it yourself.
Overcoming spice addiction.
While spice is an addictive drug and a gateway to other drug use, treatment options do exist. It is possible to stop the progression of addiction in an individual while it is still at an early stage. If you are using spice or K2, it is important to see your doctor to discuss treatment options and find out what you can do to stop using this dangerous drug.