K2 synthetic weed dangers
Is K2 dangerous?
Getting high on legal herb may sound tempting. But it comes at the cost of not knowing the short or long term effects. Below, we take a broader look at the dangers of K2* synthetic weed and the potential problems of continuing the proliferation of synthetic, legal highs.
Is synthetic weed a gateway drug?
A gateway drug is one which leads users to try ‘harder’ substances. For many years, smoking (tobacco) has been heralded as the main gateway drug. This is because it is legal (at least for those over 18) and this, in turn, makes tobacco readily available.
The same can be said for K2.
Here is a powerful substance that can give users a high very much unlike the dizzy/nauseous high associated with first time tobacco use. Not only is it powerful but, as with cigarettes, it is legal and readily available. In my opinion, synthetic legal weed is a ‘real’ gateway drugs in so far as they are psychoactive (unlike cigarettes) and can lead users to experiment with other drugs that are not only illegal but that are also far more powerful.
On top of this, the DEA is now banning synthetic weed as and when it can, which means users are being forced to buy their drug on the street where they can be exposed to other drugs. This is cause for concern. There is no doubt that the authorities will continue to ban these drugs as they appear, but you can be sure that more substances will be synthesized in the labs of the Far East.
What we don’t know about synthetic cannabis
It is only in the past ten or so years that K2 has been available to the public at large. That is not a very long time, certainly not long enough to build up an accurate picture of the long term consequences of habitual use. At Addiction Blog, we have spoken of the short term dangers of synthetic cannabinoids and read many personal stories about the side effects, yet there is precious little known about the dangers of long term use. Compared to the data we have on marijuana usage, we have nothing on synthetic weed, yet we are still uncovering facts on the long term effects of cannabis smoking on mental health. This vacuum of information on the compounds used in synthetic cannabinoids, means that those smoking this stuff are playing with fire.
K2 dangers Of prohibition
The appearance and use of synthetic weed has come about as a result of government drug policy and the machinations of the market system. Governments outlaw a substance people want, people still want that substance (or something similar to it), a gap is created in the market, and business moves in to exploit that gap. Government bans the new substance and so the circle continues. Plus, drug testing for K2 is not yet commercial and K2 does not show up on traditional marijuana drug tests. So, here we have a situation where synthetics go undetected and more and more people can get hurt.
The problem with this cycle is twofold:
1. Those who smoke newly illegal cannabinoids will be criminalized. If they do not wish to use a newly banned substance, they will try and find something similar which creates the second problem….
2. New compounds will be synthesized and new K2 products will continue to come onto the market. New compounds that may or may not be as dangerous as those that went before them. Users who move from one product to another in order to stay within the law will be ingesting a cocktail of untested chemicals over the long term.
Your opinions or experiences with K2
Do you have something to share about K2? Have you encountered dangerous side effects? Are you aware of the dangers of K2? Please let us know. Your feedback can help others interested in the same topic.
* I use the terms “K2” or “Spice” to refer to all synthetic cannabinoids.
Photo credit: Lauren Paulsen