When an Iowa teenager suffered a panic attack and then shot himself after smoking K2, the State of Iowa Drug Policy Coordinator issued a warning alert to Iowans to use caution when dealing with synthetic marijuana. And later, in 2011 that state was one of many that began banning these dangerous chemical-sprayed herbal substances. Until then, it had been legal in most states to sell these products, and they were even marketed as a "legal, safe alternative" to marijuana. They are no longer legal, and they never were safe.
The effects of taking K2 or Spice by various routes including smoking it are not pleasant. Someone seeking a marijuana-like high will usually not find it. Health officials report seeing patients with elevated heart rate and blood pressure, vomiting, extreme anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and seizures after ingesting K2 or Spice.
The federal government issued a temporary national ban on the substances found in K2 and Spice or any synthetic marijuana products in March of 2011 and made that permanent in June of 2012. Many states already had laws in place placing these drugs on Controlled Substances lists; those that didn't are now following the federal government's lead.
Signs of Spice Addiction or Abuse
While not everyone will experience the degree or intensity of violence and paranoia that the young Iowa man did, many Spice or K2 users do have serious negative effects. These may include threatening behavior and aggression, terrible headaches and even coma and unconsciousness. One study documented three particular cases of Spice abuse. One was that of a 16-year-old girl who was catatonic, unable to speak or respond to any touch when she arrived in the emergency room. A urine drug test showed cannabinoids (the type of drug found in K2 or Spice) in her system.
And in another case, they found that a 16-year-old boy had problems with movement and trouble with his speech. Although he was alert, he seemed confused, and could only answer simple questions.
The third case they studied was that of an 18-year-old boy who was brought to the emergency room agitated and excessively sweating. He was restless, aggressive and uncooperative.
And a recent study stated that K2 could increase the risk of psychosis, even among people with no history of a psychiatric disorder.
Deaths and Poison Control Calls Related to Spice or K2
Many deaths from violence or suicide have been attributed to these drugs as well, but until recently there weren't reliable tests to detect them, so that number is hard to accurately estimate. What is known is that Poison Control Centers around the U.S. reported more than 4,000 calls in 2010 and nearly 7,000 in 2011 requesting help for Spice or K2 abuse. Emergency rooms were not always able to learn what was wrong with a patient as one effect was an inability to speak. And since there was no drug test that would detect these substances easily, E.R. physicians were sometimes puzzled by the effects they saw.
Spice is Addictive
Yet despite all these unwanted effects, the addictive property of Spice and K2 is evident. There are many teens and young adults in particular, who have tried Spice because it was hard to detect and relatively cheap and easy to obtain. These people report that although they may have wanted to stop using it, they found themselves compulsively seeking more of the drug. The abuser of fake pot is at risk of coma, seizures and even death, so it is vital that one get help for someone addicted to Spice as soon as possible.
Narconon Provides a Safe, Drug-Free Program for Spice and other Drug Users
For those who abuse Spice, K2 or other drugs, Narconon offers a drug-free program that allows one to withdraw off the drug safely and then handles the physical and mental effects that drugs cause. One begins the Narconon program by handling the physical effects and once they are gone, he starts to study on several life skills courses. These help him to rebuild his own self-esteem and guide him to make better choices in his life.
The Narconon program has been in existence since 1966, and has helped tens of thousands of addicts around the world to regain a sober life. The success of Narconon is shown by the 70% of its graduates who remain drug-free following completing the program.
See also Spice Use