Every morning at 6:00, my husband turns on the news. I usually drowse for another half an hour, listening to the TV as it interests me. When this story came on, I came fully awake as I was really, truly surprised. I’d not heard about this. It is disturbing.
Teen use of synthetic marijuana, similar to incense in appearance and smell, is on the rise.
NOTICE: If you came to this post searching for ways to get high, don’t bother. This stuff can KILL YOU. Save your brain cells and your parents a lot of anguish and find something better to do with your time!
K2 or Spice, as it is sometimes called, is basically a potpourri of dried plant materials that are sprayed with chemicals.
The compounds used are so obscure that they don’t even have names. They go by numbers and often the initials of the chemists from whom they originate, such as JWH-073. The formulations vary from brand to brand, but it is generally known that none of the chemicals were designed for human consumption.
Most frequently used by athletes, Spice or K2 was undetectable in drug screens until recently.
There are now drug tests which will detect Spice use. It was touted as an untraceable alternative to marijuana, but the horrible truth is that while it WAS undetectable, it is infinitely more dangerous than marijuana. The high happens, faster and harder, and the side effects may include paralysis and death.
Most parents, teachers, and even police officers still aren’t aware of it or don’t think to look for it. No longer legal for sale in the United States, it is still sold online under these names, among others:
- Amazing Grace
- Black Mamba
- Summit, and others.
Signs of K2 intoxication include some of the similar signs of marijuana intoxication.
- Bloodshot eyes
- Sluggishness or being “out of it”
- Slow or slurred speech
- Nonsense speech
- Incense odor on them or their clothes that will most likely not be unpleasant.
If you suspect your teen is high on incense (or anything else for that matter), let them know that you know, and monitor them to watch for adverse side effects. If they are irrational, out of control, or having trouble breathing or understanding conversation, medical intervention may be needed. And always, in case of emergency, call 911.
This psychoactive drug can have dangerous side effects such as:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Inability to speak
- Lung irritation
- Heart attack
- Respiratory distress
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe allergic reactions
- Hallucinations and severe paranoia
Don’t fool yourself that your “good kid” wouldn’t use drugs.
If your teen is burning incense in his room, or comes home smelling like incense, you need to find out what he is doing. Any teen can use drugs! GOOD KIDS can use drugs. Kids who use K2 are often athletes!
Talk to your kids. Know what they’re up to and with whom. Learn about the other alternatives to illegal drugs that teens are taking and educate yourself about what’s out there. Just because they aren’t illegal, it does not mean they are not dangerous.
Something IS being done!
Kansas was the first state to ban the chemicals used in K2 production, and Missouri and other states have followed suit. Then in July 2012, President Obama signed legislation banning synthetic drugs, K2 among them. It’s only a start. Spice is still available online, and is growing in popularity among teens.
What can you do?
- Talk to your kids about the dangers of synthetic pot.
- Get to know their friends. Let your house be the hangout, and supervise in the background.
- Follow your gut instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
- Know what your kids and doing, with whom, and where. This is basic, responsible parenting, folks.
- If you discover your child is using K2, confront them and remove it, and follow the same course of action you would take if you found they were using other drugs.
Edit 9/19/12: When I wrote this post in July 2010, I thought that this was a “new” thing. I was wrong. This article at LiveScience, Risks of Smoking K2, actually points out that “fake pot” has been around since the mid-1990’s. Upon further research, I have expanded this post to include a lot more information and resources for parents.
Some other resources for parents: