Spice / K2: It’s Not What You Think!
Many people have heard about Spice or K2, also known as synthetic cannabis, fake pot, synthetic marijuana, legal weed, herbal incense and potpourri.
though, think ‘spice’ is a seasoning for your food like paprika or pepper. They think ‘K2’ is a famous mountain.
And that’s exactly what the makers of this dangerous drug want non-users to think…
people have no idea how this awful synthetic drug is affecting millions of people all over the world.
The word is slowly leaking out, however, as reports to Poison Control and emergency room visits have skyrocketed over the past few years.
So, what exactly is Spice / K2?
What Does Spice Look Like?
Traditional smoked Spice/K2 looks like herbal tobacco, or natural marijuana.
It’s actually made from dried
plant material and chopped up herbs in a mixture of colors including beige, cream red and brown. The active ingredients are sprayed onto the plant material.
The most popular brands sold today are Spice and K2.
is actually sold under more than 500 names including Mojo, Scooby Snax, Black Mamba and Annihilation.
Today, vaping the liquid form of synthetic marijuana is a fast-rising trend. The increasing popularity of e-cigarettes,
vape pens and hookah pens – especially in high schools and universities – is the reason behind this shift.
What Is Spice Made Of?
Natural marijuana gains its mind-altering effects from a chemical known as THC.
Synthetic marijuana, on the other hand, is coated with synthetic cannabinoids – a family of over 700 research
In other words, synthetic marijuana / K2 / Spice is completely different than natural marijuana.
In 2008, the scientific and law enforcement communities began to study what was actually
contained in synthetic cannabis mixtures. The result of the scientific analyses was alarming.
Analysis showed that rather than being a simple mixture of harmless herbs, such as canavalia maritima, leonotis leonurus, zornia latifolia and others,
the product had in fact been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids.
These are not the “All Natural” ingredients
listed on their packaging and on the sellers’ web sites. These chemicals are similar to natural cannabinoid found in marijuana, THC – tetrahydracannabinol, but affect brain receptors differently.
Spice and K2 may contain one of many
synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, AM-2201 UR-144, XLR-11, AKB4, cannabicyclohexanol and AB-CHMINACA, AB-PINACA or AB-FUBINACA. Even the prescription drug, phenazapam, has been found in some products.
Synthetic cannabinoids happens
to fit into the same receptors that THC latches onto in the brain, so they can have an effect similar to THC.
However, some synthetic cannabinoids are 100X stronger than THC and many operate on other brain receptors, too.
can cause a number of significant negative side effects including high blood pressure, blurred vision, heart attack, vomiting, seizures,
hallucinations, and severe anxiety and paranoia.
Deaths have also been associated with use of the drug.
Synthetic marijuana is not sold as a single brand, nor does it
make use of just one ingredient.
There are a number of different manufacturers who use the same basic approach, but produce very different chemicals.
How Is Synthetic Marijuana Made?
It wasn’t long after the
use of Spice & K2 became available that people started experiencing and reporting adverse side effects,
including serious psychosis.
cannabinoids are produced as an oil or a crystalline powder that can easily be sprayed on plant material or any other low cost garbage the manufacturers can get away with to create a product that can be smoked and provide some kind
Most spice manufacturers don’t follow high manufacturing standards. Many of the chemicals are produced in cheap basement labs in China or Russia.
Because of the wide variety of chemicals involved and the
sloppy manufacturing methods used to produce them, the health risks of one batch may not be the same as another
batch, turning use of the drug into a game of Russian roulette.
Chemical impurities also carry additional, and possibly much greater, risks.
In liquid forms of Spice or K2, the variety of chemicals may be greater. Some suspect that a few brands
of liquid Spice may contain traces of synthetic psychedelics such as 2C-P.
Analysis by the German government in 2008 showed that some products contained almost none of the supposedly mild traditional herbs that were advertised as ingredients.
Around the world, governments have begun to pay attention to spice. One after another, countries find that these products, far from being innocent, contain very dangerous artificial chemicals which are responsible for producing the so called “natural”
Spice manufacturers continue to develop new varieties of chemicals in an attempt to get around new laws against synthetic cannabis.
Very few synthetic cannabinoids have been tested on human beings,
so none of them can be considered safe.
Where Did Spice Come From?
Spice (synthetic cannabinoid) was first sold as a recreational drug in 2004, in the UK.
By 2006, it had gained a considerable
hold on the market, and the brand name Spice (along with another brand, K2) had become a generic term for all synthetic cannabis.
At first, people believed Spice was simply a mixture of harmless herbs that had a similar effect to
marijuana, so it was legally sold all over the world, especially via the internet. It was attractively packaged in small colorful sachets, and generally marketed as a herbal smoking tobacco substitute, or as incense. The packaging had a kind of 60’s,
summer of love, retro feel, which gave it an aura of harmlessness.
The product itself looks very much like herbal tobacco or even potpourri.
In fact, Spice is often sold as potpourri, room deodorizer or incense, purporting to be an innocent
product for scenting rooms and will usually have the warning, “Not for human consumption” on the packet.
But this is just a marketing strategy to ward off legal threats.
Consumers, through the grapevine, know perfectly well that
they are buying something intended to be smoked in a joint or a bong pipe.
Is Synthetic Marijuana Legal?
In most countries around the world, including the United States, synthetic cannabis is illegal. Spice use is also
banned for U.S. Military personnel.
There are, unfortunately, some countries around the world where synthetic cannabinoids remain legal. This is creating a tangle of problems for authorities in the U.S and is probably increasing the use of synthetic cannabis.
In May, 2013, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) took action and formally banned Synthetic Marijuana as a
Class I drug, making distribution of legal weed a federal crime in the US.
Unfortunately, the DEA action only covered a small number of chemicals, leaving pushers legal room to sell different chemicals in their place.
Some states are taking further action to limit all forms of spice.
The manufacturers of synthetic cannabis work hard to stay one step ahead of the law and are continuously creating new compounds to side-step regulations.
it’s basically a cat and mouse game between the creators of these dangerous substances and the legislators who seek to protect the unsuspecting public, especially young people who are easily conned into thinking that they have somehow found legal,
As fast as common synthetic cannabinoids are banned, the producers create different versions
which can slip through the legal net. This is creating huge problems as the authorities attempt to cut of the many heads of the hydra.
Today, it is estimated there are well over 200 synthetic cannabinoids sold on the street, with about 50 of them
currently listed in the US as federal Class I drugs.
The following 7-minute news report by CNN explains just how hard it is for law enforcement to get their hands around this fast-growing problem.