WHAT IS K2?
K2 and Spice are just two of the many trade names or brands of synthetic designer drugs that are intended to mimic THC, the main active ingredient of marijuana. These designer synthetic drugs are from the synthetic cannabinoid class of drugs that are often marketed and sold under the guise of “herbal incense” or “potpourri.” Synthetic cannabinoids are not organic but are chemical compounds created in a laboratory. Since 2009, law enforcement has encountered numerous different synthetic cannabinoids that are being sold as “legal” alternatives to marijuana. These products are being abused for their psychoactive properties and are packaged without information as to their health and safety risks. Synthetic cannabinoids are sold as “herbal incense” and “potpourri” under names like K2 and Spice, as well as many other names, at small convenience stores, head shops, gas stations, and via the Internet from both domestic and international sources. These products are labeled “not for human consumption” in an attempt to shield the manufacturers, distributors, and retail sellers from criminal prosecution. This type of marketing is nothing more than a means to make dangerous, psychoactive substances widely available to the public.
The vast majority of synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured in Asia without manufacturing requirements or quality control standards. The bulk products are smuggled into the United States typically as misbranded imports and have no legitimate medical or industrial use.
What are common street names?
There are numerous and various street names for synthetic cannabinoids as drug manufacturers try to appeal to and entice youth and young adults by labeling these products with exotic and extravagant names. Some of the many street names of synthetic marijuana are: “Spice,”“K2,” Blaze, RedX Dawn,
Paradise, Demon, Black Magic, Spike, Mr. Nice Guy, Ninja, Zohai, Dream, Genie, Sence, Smoke, Skunk, Serenity, Yucatan, Fire, and Crazy Clown.
What does it look like?
These chemical compounds are generally found in bulk powder form and then dissolved in solvents, such as acetone, before being applied to dry plant material to make the “herbal incense” products. After local distributors apply the drug to the dry plant material, they package it for retail distribution, again without
pharmaceutical-grade chemical purity standards, as these have no accepted medical use, and ignore any control mechanisms to prevent contamination or to ensure a consistent, uniform concentration of the powerful and dangerous drug in each package.
How is it abused?
Spraying or mixing the synthetic cannabinoids on plant material provides a vehicle for the most common route of administration – smoking (using a pipe, a water pipe, or rolling the drug-laced plant material in cigarette papers). In addition to the cannabinoids laced on plant material and sold as potpourri and
incense, liquid cannabinoids have been designed to be vaporized through both disposable and reusable electronic cigarettes.
What are its overdose effects?
Overdose deaths have been attributed to the abuse of synthetic cannabinoids, including death by a heart attack. Acute kidney injury requiring hospitalization and dialysis in several patients reportedly having smoked synthetic cannabinoids has also been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.