K2, also called spice or synthetic marijuana, has caused at least 84 overdoses just in the past week. Since 2015, more than 6,000 overdose cases were to K2 use in New York City alone. Two people so far have died from K2 overdose from all these reported cases. Because of the rising concern about the drug’s effect on public health, local authorities have pushed for a corresponding increase in the regulation of the drug’s sale and distribution.
K2 is a synthetic drug that has a chemical composition that is very similar to THC – a natural psychoactive compound that is found in marijuana. However, some researchers and experts point out that K2 and marijuana are completely different substances, despite their apparent similarities. K2 is classified by experts as a synthetic cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are the receptors in the brain with which these types of drugs interact. K2 has no reported or acceptable medical use as of this writing.
K2 is sprayed or soaked into plant materials and generally smoked. Users inhale the substance typically through a pipe or a rolling paper. Because of the variability of the drug’s chemical composition for every single batch that is manufactured, the outcomes for users can also be very unpredictable. In fact, some researchers believe that some of the K2 batches being sold in the streets right now are many times as potent as the THC in marijuana. Because they are not made by legitimate drug companies and are often mixed with other substances, they can be extremely dangerous.
Some of the identified psychological and physical effects on users include chest pain, high blood pressure, convulsions and seizures, elevated heart rate, vomiting, confusion or paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, and even violent behavior. For long-term users, K2 has also been shown to produce addictive effects. Users who have tried to stop their use of this substance have reported withdrawal symptoms. Some cases of acute kidney injuries and heart attacks have also been linked with habitual K2 abuse.
Sale and Distribution
Slang terms for the drug include black mamba, mr. bad guy, bliss, cotton ball, green giant, trippy, Bombay blue, red giant, scooby snax, and legal weed. This drug is originally manufactured in China and then smuggled into other countries or even legally imported under misbranded labels. Before it became a banned substance, K2 used to be sold online and in other locations as well including gas stations, warehouses, and head shops.
K2 also sells at a very cheap price. Users can reportedly get high for as little as $1. This makes the drug very attractive to users and the potential for abuse is very high. Homeless shelters, for instance, have been pinpointed as one of the areas where the drug’s impact is considerably great. The authorities have already expressed that they are strengthening their efforts against the sale and distribution of this illegal substance.