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K2: Fake Marijuana Can Be Dangerous to Kids Health

Fake marijuana, also known as K2, gives a high that is similar to marijuana and kids today are smoking it. K2 is supposed to be a legal high but doctors are seeing something other than a mild high.

Fake marijuana, also known as K2, gives a high that is similar to marijuana and kids today are smoking it. As if parents needed something new to watch out for, K2 is supposed to be a legal high but doctors are seeing something other than a mild high.

What is K2 and Fake Marijuana

K2 is known as fake pot or fake marijuana and sold with brand names like K2 Blonde, K2 Summit, Spice, Spice Gold, Spice Silver, Spice Diamond, Zohai, Yucatan Fire and Genie and other names. K2 and similar products are made in Korea and China and sold as incense or potpourri. These fake marijuana products can be bought on the internet, smoke shops and found in the incense sections of stores. Store owners have said kids are buying so much that they cannot keep it on the shelves.

K2 has been sold over the internet since 2006, and now kids in the US have discovered it as a legal high that is supposed to be like marijuana. The natural ingredient in marijuana that gets people high is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). In the 1990s, a chemist at Clemson University made a synthetic product that was similar to THC and named it JWH-018.

K2 is herbs or spices sprayed with a synthetic product like JWH-018 to supposedly give a legal high like marijuana. JWH-018 is three times more potent than naturally occurring THC in marijuana is. JWH-018 and similar synthetically made products are called synthetic cannabinoids or mimicking cannabinoids and were developed to test the effects of THC on mice, not to be taken by humans.

In March 2009, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) received and analyzed a shipment of these foil packets with the name of Spice Gold and inside was dried plant looking material. What the DEA found was that all of these packets contained not only the synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 but also very small amounts of HU-210. HU-210 is a hundred times more potent than the natural THC found in marijuana.

Dangerous Side Effects of Fake Marijuana

Dr. Scalzo of Saint Louis University in Missouri believes not only is this K2 or fake marijuana sprayed with the synthesized THC but could also contain unknown toxic substances that are causing dangerous side effects.

Kids are getting and smoking the fake marijuana thinking it is legal, all natural and that they will get the same mellow high that marijuana produces. In the past month alone, Dr. Scalzo has seen 30 kids with side effects not normally seen with marijuana use. The kids have had dangerously high blood pressure, pale skin, a fast heart beat and vomiting. These symptoms suggest that the fake marijuana is affecting the cardiovascular system of these kids. Dr. Scalzo who also directs the Missouri Regional Poison Control Center believes this K2 fake marijuana could also affect the central nervous system, which can cause severe hallucinations and, in some cases, seizures.

In the past several months, the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center in Denver has seen 11 kids in the emergency room after smoking K2 fake marijuana with symptoms of elevated blood pressure and heart rate, body tremors, confusion, headaches and agitation.

In the US, there have been 160 reported cases of kids in their teens being hospitalized after smoking K2 for respiratory problems and increased blood pressure.

Why K2 is Sold

This fake marijuana or K2 is sold as incense and potpourri with a warning on the label that says not for human consumption. It does make you wonder why a potpourri would contain synthetic THC chemicals in it.

A Denver television station took a hidden camera into a head shop and bought some K2 where the sales clerk told the reporter how to get high with K2 by taking one or two hits and waiting five minutes.

K2 and similar fake marijuana is banned in many European countries and recently the state of Kansas has banned it while several other states are now looking to ban K2, Spice and other fake marijuana products.

What Users of Fake Marijuana Say

Some articles about this fake marijuana think this is nothing but media hype, but doctors disagree. In the comments section of these articles, many kids, teens and young adults who have smoked K2 and other fake marijuana say that it isn’t anything like smoking marijuana.

One wrote that he tried it expecting the normal mellow high you get from marijuana and what he experienced was 90 minutes of visual and audio hallucinations, diminished motor control and what felt like a panic attack.

A parent wrote that her 16-year old son smoked the fake marijuana and become very agitated and “out of his mind” trying to jump out of his second story window into the pool below. The paramedics thought at first he had taken the illegal drug PCP. The boy required 69 stitches.

Conclusion

Some experienced pot smokers say these symptoms that cause people to go to the emergency room are just inexperienced marijuana smokers while others say there is something in this fake marijuana that acts like PCP. Doctors agree that the symptoms do not act like normal marijuana and is dangerous compared to marijuana. JWC-018 was not created for human consumption nor has it ever been tested on humans, so no one knows what side effects there could be.

As for banning fake marijuana, if these products do contain HU-210, then they are already a banned substance since HU-210 is classified as an illegal schedule I controlled substance.

© 2010 Sam Montana

Resources

DEA Report on Spice

St. Louis University - SLU Toxicologist Warning to Parents: Look for Signs of K2 Anthony Scalzo, M.D., Says “Fake Pot” Can Cause Hallucinations, Seizures

KMGH

DEA Report on HU-210

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Comments (37)

I must be out of the loop, as I never heard of K2. Of course I ain't lookin' to get high.

wow totally had not heard of this before, thanks for sharing... by the way, I get no effect off of THC.. never understood what the fuss was all about.

Hey, B. You didn't inhale. Good information.

This is a well-written article.

Thanks, Sam, all parents should be on alert for this.

I always thought incense was in stick form and was not sold in druggy bags.

Excellent article Sam, well researched and well written! I have heard of this substance but not to this extent, it sounds very lethal to me! If all of these symptoms are being reported why isn't antyhing getting done. If this is a legal substance they may as well make cannabis legal at least that sounds a bit safer!

alcoholisbad

This is the dumbest article I've ever read considering the fact that thousands of kids are injured, poisoned, and killed from alcohol every week. Not a singal death has occured from this. I have tried it as well as my step mom, and it is weaker than marijauna. 160 kids had bad side effects in how long of a time span 2-3 yrs. What you really should be worried about is your kids smoking cigarettes and drinking those are the real problems. I would rather my son tamper with this or marijauna anyday over alcohol and cigarettes. By the way the FDA approves drugs with side effects worse than this on a daily basis and are prescribing them to children all across the nation. Prozac, adderol, and many others have caused way more hospital visits than this even death. I think you should do some research on the millions of other things that cause DEATH that are openly legal and obtainable by children, for example RAID and cough syrup, you people are rediculous......

Many parents don’t feel the same way as you and your stepmom do and this article was written to inform those parents who don’t want their kids getting high on anything, legal or illegal. Alcohol is not legal for kids to get like fake marijuana is. I do not need to do any research on all of the dangerous toxins that kids can get legally but I would hope kids had more common sense than to get high using Raid. I do agree with you about prescription drugs, they have become ridiculous.

timdklfsdk

just found out that my dad does k2 and marijuana

Tim, that doesnt mean you have to smoke it and you shouldnt.

Justin Level

Maybe all you parents should talk to your kids about the effects of marijuana, or any other drug for that matter, instead of relying on the government or your local police force to control something you should be looking out for. I don't understand why it's acceptable to come home and drink a glass (or bottle for you Catholics out there) of wine, but as soon as someone uses THC, they're labeled as a criminal. Not only a criminal, but the same kind of criminal that uses heroin or meth. No shit smoking grass can be harmful to your system. Smoking anything is bad for your body. However, the effects of this substance are by no means more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. Maybe you all should stop being so afraid.of something that was made illegal in the thirties. Educate yourselves on the real reasons marijuana was banned in the first place

Audrey

I'm a lot more concerned about the LEGAL chemicals in our shampoos or all the LEGAL MSG, artificial sweeteners, rancid oils, etc in most of the foods in our grocery stores. k2 incense should be the least of your worries.

Anon

I have smoked both THC and spice. It is true that spice gives a much stronger high, one that could be achieved through smoking THC, but it would have to be a huge amount. Marijuana is a much safer drug (much safer than alcohol as well), but K2 is so easy for kids to get and without the risk of jail time. I think this whole article is just another reason why marijuana should be legal.

great article, and it turns out K2 Might i fact be more dangerous than "real"marijuana, marijuana is itself is not as bad as we were once all led to believe http://factoidz.com/marijuana-myths-2/ this is a good article that gets into some of the myths surrounding marijuana..

Good point Keith. At least with most marijuana you know what is in it. With K2, Spice and those types of products you dont know what chemicals are in them.

marijuana license

Thanks for sharing information for k2 and marijuana I really impressed and want some more stuffs again for this post.

That's great, let's keep the natural stuff that has proven medical benefits illegal but give uneducated kids access to something chemically induced that can mess them up severely. ugh. i recently heard of k2 and was confused on how it could be considered legal. great article, very informative. these side effects need to be put out there, especially since this is a new thing and not many people have even heard of it.

Legalize It

K2 and Marijuana cause paranoia in several ways, K2 does so more severely. I think that out of the "11 kids" in the emergency room, 10 of them were experiencing some panic (thinking they are having a heart attack, or about to die, or something along those lines - even though they are fine). I've had this happen to three of my friends on different occasions, and calmed them down and everything was fine (the other thing about K2 the high lasts about 1/5 as long). You know the movie The Hangover where the main character freaks out and thinks he is having a heart attack and strokes the furry wall? That has a real basis, and is more often with spice than pot.

Legalize It

K2 and Marijuana cause paranoia in several ways, K2 does so more severely. I think that out of the "11 kids" in the emergency room, 10 of them were experiencing some panic (thinking they are having a heart attack, or about to die, or something along those lines - even though they are fine). I've had this happen to three of my friends on different occasions, and calmed them down and everything was fine (the other thing about K2 the high lasts about 1/5 as long). You know the movie The Hangover where the main character freaks out and thinks he is having a heart attack and strokes the furry wall? That has a real basis, and is more often with spice than pot.

This is a phenomenon I just became aware of in the past few months. Hummm . . .

Ben

I like how this article tries to pose as a knowledgeable article by pointing out that "DOCTORS AGREE!" like its a toothpaste commercial. News media brainwashing or not, this is just a poorly researched article. So Doctors agree its dangerous. Lets look at the listed reasons why? Pale, Increased Heart Rate, dizziness, hallucination. Oh wow, it sounds like BEING HIGH. One thing every article like this has in common is "Kids". Its not just kids taking this, but its mostly kids complaining. A lot of the ingredients in this herbal faux-pot are several times stronger than TCH (which is not in it, read the article again). These kids are seeing Mr. Koolaid outta the corner of their eye and think they're dying of a heart attack. K2 been available since 2004 (JWH since the 90s and other variants since the 70s), there have been no credible reports of deaths and the only example any article can give you is some aunt who's cousins friends son tried to jump from a window whilst "hopped up" or "doped up" like ignorant D.A.R.E-washed minds often call it.

Ben, you say my article was poorly researched and I beg to differ. The article has many references to good research and documentation about this subject from emergency room doctors and records. Dizziness, high blood pressure, hallucinations and becoming pale in a child IS a danger to a kid’s health, which is exactly what this article was about. Kid’s seeing hallucinations (as you put it, Mr. Kool-Aid) and thinking they are having a heart attack is a danger to a child’s health. Your reply doesn’t make any sense when you mention the part about THC being in the fake pot. I never wrote that THC was in this fake pot.

Ben

Sam, arguing about its health effects in children aside, the problem in this situation is not the substances availability. Its parents trying to use the Government to babysit their kids. One more step towards total government control. A fact most conservative Americans are quit to point out, unless it keeps them from something they want. Like this case.

The fact is, its not just kids using this. But its mostly kids having the symptoms. I didn't reply to this article to state I thought children should be taking it. I replied to point out how people would rather ban a product than attempt to be real parents and control their kids. You never take into consideration that having these babysit laws dosent just affect your children, it affects anyone who enjoyed the product. Are you going to make porn illegal because kids shouldnt view it? Of course not, it should be regulated. Same as alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Most cases the places require you to be 18 to buy it anyway. If they don't, that's where legislation should be put in place. Banning a substance to keep it from your kids instead of manning up and being a parent is no different then burning books from the library so your kids cant read the questionable material.

People need to understand that we are all connected. What you do affects what happens to everyone around you. Alot of people enjoy this product. Do not let parental protective natures clog your view of logic.

Make the issue parenting, not pot or K2. Just like with R-rated movies, M-rated video games, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and anything else with an age requirement its up to the parents/retailers to keep it from the kids hands. Not heavy-handed overkill legislation banning anything you don't agree with/like.

Ben

Remember, every year 500,000 people die from Alcohol and Tobacco related incidents in America alone. That's nearly 1500 people a day. How is pot still an issue in 2011?

Good points, Ben. I'm a bit of a libertarian myself.

Ben, I wrote this article with one thought in mind. Letting kids and parents know that these products can cause health problems. It was not written with the thought of the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana or nanny states. I think what made many people in the media take notice of products like K2 and Spice was that they were being sold in so-called head shops with instructions on how to get high using them. In replying to your comments about banning products, I would have to agree in a small way this could be the same as an outright ban on the sale of spray paint. But you do not walk into a hardware store with a salesman explaining how to get high sniffing paint.

matthew

i just smoked some of this k2 and it was not a good time and i somke weed to and the i would chose weed over k2 any day i makes me want to puke

Troy

I think that Ben brings up a good point I mean come one I smoke k2cuz of probation and I enjoy it if the govermwnt can't get there heads out of there asses and stop Takin our childs future mabey we wouldn't have thease problums with so many little kids winding up with k2 or pot cuz honstley on my point of view it's just a way for the govermwnt to controll yet a nother thing that alot of people enjoy

Dex

Sam,

"I think what made many people in the media take notice of products like K2 and Spice was that they were being sold in so-called head shops with instructions on how to get high using them."

Instructions on how to get high using them? You mean, put it in a bowl, add flame and inhale? They only told that Denver TV reporter because he asked how, I'm sure. And he gave good advice, "only take a hit or two". Based on my past experience with head-shop employees, I'm sure that answer ended with something along the lines of "...if you're going to smoke it at all."

Dex

Sam,

"I think what made many people in the media take notice of products like K2 and Spice was that they were being sold in so-called head shops with instructions on how to get high using them."

Instructions on how to get high using them? You mean, put it in a bowl, add flame and inhale? They only told that Denver TV reporter because he asked how, I'm sure. And he gave good advice, "only take a hit or two". Based on my past experience with head-shop employees, I'm sure that answer ended with something along the lines of "...if you're going to smoke it at all."

mike hunt

hahahah @ Dex i know right, how to use it? lmao if your going to buy it, you deff. know "how to use it"

Chuck Briggs

I have to say that this is the most poorly researched and blatant BS that I have ever read in articles relating to cannabis. I presume that you call products like the one featured here "fake marijuana" because they are legal compounds that people including some children smoke to get a type of 'high.'

However, then the author, Sam Montana, tries to sound all scientific by getting into talk of synthetic marijuana and alluding to the work of John Huffman's (Clemson U) creation of synthetic THC that binds to certain receptors in the brain the same way as naturally occurring THC. The chemical compounds used in these herbal incense products are not synthetic THC or any other type of cannabinoid and do not bind to the same receptors in the brain as does the active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana).

I could spray model airplane glue on some potpourri and you might get high if you smoke it and you can label it anything you care to (I suppose) including "synthetic marijuana" but in reality it has absolutely no relationship to either cannabis (marijuana) or to THC. It is a totally different and unrelated compound.

My main point is that if you want to alarm thousands of mothers across the U.S. about a new type of drug that is being used by kids and that may be harmful, then that is fair. On the other hand, when you overtly and wrongfully try to insinuate that it is pharmacologically related to cannabis and base your whole article around this ridiculous notion, then you are merely spouting propaganda rather than participating in helpful discourse. I would recommend either you do a more adequate job of researching your topics in the future or perhaps apply for a job as a writer for the DEA - where the facts never get in the way of useful propaganda - used to justify the billions of taxpayers dollars that they waste playing Don Quixote.

Chuck, this article was well researched and has nothing to do with cannabis. You feel the need to defend marijuana, fine, but this article is not about pot at all. And really, there is no more need to discuss whether or not this fake pot is good or bad since it is now banned in most if not all states.

Chuck Briggs

Guess you made my point Sam. The article SHOULDN'T have been about cannabis (you claim it was not) but in fact WAS mostly about cannabis (marijuana). The uneducated masses who read your work would certainly come away with the impression that these smoked incense products are highly dangerous because they are a type of man-made marijuana. In reality, cannabis (marijuana) has none of these dangers and is in fact one of the few medicines on the market with almost no major side effects and is 100% non-lethal no matter the dosage.

What you actually did was exploited the plant commonly known as 'marijuana' (hence the title of your article) to get the attention of the masses (who are generally ignorant about the topic of cannabis and its true effects) and then write an article about compounds wholly different and unrelated.

I'm just wondering why you were not a bit more intellectually honest. You could have easily titled the article, 'New Legal Drug on the Market Could be Dangerous to Kids Warn Experts.' You could of and should of left out the picture of a cannabis leaf accompanying the title and all of the BS about John Huffman's work at Clemson or at the very least mention that the one compound (out of the many he invented) that you refer to is, in fact, radically different from true marijuana (structurally unrelated to either cannabis or any known active compound found in cannabis i.e. THC).

For the record, I do not "feel the need" to defend marijuana as you stated but rather to be a proponent of honest journalism (with integrity) that communicates serious, factual information to the public rather than exploit general ignorance, common misperception and bias as a cheap way to increase readership.

Sincerely,

Rev Charles Briggs

4Christ Child Missions (4Christ.org)

PS. For the record, my comments are less about you personally and more about the way this topic is typically treated by most. I find myself having personal conversations that often turn into debates with many people about cannabis simply because they know almost nothing factual about the topic but rely upon hearsay and misconception which have been passed to them as fact. I was not making a general statement about your qualities as a writer or journalist since I don't know you and am not sure whether I have read any other work by you. Also, for the record, I do not (currently) use cannabis although I did use it recreationally for several years when I was a much, much younger man. I am now 50.

PSS. People are often surprised to find that GW Pharmaceuticals, closely associated with (but not the parent company) of Bayer (i.e. aspirin) owns the largest cannabis grow operation in the world (in the UK). There is a major difference however, between cannabis and aspirin. The U.S. government has documented thousands of deaths caused by aspirin but has never documented a single death caused by cannabis, either directly or indirectly. In fact, in studies done on populations (Rastafarians) in Jamaica who smoke and ingest massive quantities of cannabis daily during their whole lives, their life expectancy was found to be the same as other populations in Jamaica who are non-users (well technically, the Rastas were found to have a six month longer life expectancy which is statistically insignificant). Smoking (any substance) is known to create cancer causing carcinogens and smoking is known to be the Rastas primary means of ingestion; however, this fact is believed to be offset by the anti-cancer/tumor properties found inside cannabis. Today's Medicinal Cannabis users though, are typically advised to avoid smoking it but rather to use another means of ingestion such as vaporizing or eating it in moderate dosages.

Ken Sherman

If the federal government hadn't prohibited cannabis use and prevented scientists from even studying it, K2 et al would not exist. Prohibition created this health problem, just as alcohol prohibition created "rotgut" and bathtub gin that blinded and killed. Re-legalize cannabis now! Save the children. ;-)

Ken Sherman

If the federal government hadn't prohibited cannabis use and prevented scientists from even studying it, K2 et al would not exist. Prohibition created this health problem, just as alcohol prohibition created "rotgut" and bathtub gin that blinded and killed. Re-legalize cannabis now! Save the children. ;-)

I live near St Louis Missouri. It is 3:45am. About an hour ago I woke and noticed my 19 yr old sons bedroom light on. So as any mother would do I went in to check on him. I found my son in a catatonic state. He did not even know who I was and I could not understand what he was even saying to me other than he smoked some super good kind bud. Upon investigating and searching his room I found a 4g bag of herbal potpourri called WTF Next Generation. Well I can tell you as a parent and an ex meth addict, I don't ever want to see my child like this again. I intend to make a stand and stop the selling of this stuff. God only knows what that my son was smoking. This stuff should be illegal and any one selling it should be arrested. The website on the package: www.MR-NICE-GUY.com pulls up an empty page. So my next step is to call the local St Louis news channels and to contact my Governor. I wished all you parents/family and friends would help me in the effort to ban any substance like this from being sold in the store and online. If it was intended to be sold as potpourri it would be sold in 4-10 ounce bags for less than $3.00 at your local Walmart and or Dollar Stores and not a 4 gram package for $30.00 at head shops, smoke shops and gas stations I can be reached at thacker1970@yahoo.com if anyone would like to assist me in stopping these products from hitting the streets and into our loved ones hands and lungs.

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