The Growing Problem of the Drugs K2 and Spice

K2 and Spice are street names for a class of synthetic cannabinoid drugs that are frequently labeled “synthetic marijuana.” There is virtually no resemblance between the two, however. K2-K2 and Spicetype products are often sold in so-called smoke shops and boutique stores that sell drug paraphernalia. Typically packed in small, metallic bags or packets, the product resembles dried tea leaves or potpourri, but has been sprayed with a synthetic compound that is advertised as resembling THC, the high-inducing component of marijuana.

The packets are often marked “not safe for human consumption” and may be labeled as incense. Although the marketing names change frequently, some of the more popular include Bliss, Genie, Bombay Blue, Keisha Kole, Black Mamba, Zohai, Red Giant, Geeked Up, Caution or Ninja. Users may roll the product and smoke it, use it in a pipe or make tea with it.

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Use

Short-term effects of Spice are similar to those of PCP (angel dust) and may include extreme agitation, paranoia, violent behavior, nausea, vomiting, soaring blood pressure, hallucinations, stroke, psychosis, cardiac issues and seizure. Because of its dangerous nature, no studies have been conducted on the effects K2 has on the body. The worst-known problems of K2 are long-term, including its tendency to permanently change brain function. And although natural marijuana contains an anti-psychotic chemical component (cannabidiol), the synthetic version has no such natural response regulator.

The “Synthetic Marijuana” Misnomer Crisis

Many news outlets and even some members of the medical community use the terms “synthetic marijuana” or “synthetic cannabis” when referring to synthetic cannabinoid products. As a result, many people developed the perception that these drugs’ effects and side effects would resemble those of marijuana. Unfortunately, the similarity ends with the name. Since April 8, 160 New York residents have been hospitalized after using K2 or Spice products*, prompting that state’s governor to issue a public health warning. Although most states have outlawed these dangerous drugs, some have not.

The Impossible Task of Controlling Availability

Manufacturers and distributors continue to elude every effort law enforcement makes to crack down. The drug’s inventor, John W. Huffman, who designed the chemical for research purposes, is horrified that it’s being used based on its unpredictable and dangerous nature. Huffman advocates educating kids and parents about the dangers of K2, especially communicating with kids that it is not the same as marijuana in any way and can, in fact, kill you with a single use.

Offering residential treatment for girls, the experienced team at Havenwood Academy has extensive experience with drug addiction and substance abuse issues. Contact them today if you suspect your daughter or another family member may be using K2 or Spice.


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