- Story Highlights
- K2: Herbal marijuana still legal, but health officials say it's dangerous
K2 – Health Officials Say Synthetic Marijuana Can Make You Sick
Legislators are worried about K2 and other synthetic marijuana products that are legal and for sale in 49 states. Health officials say these herbal products can be dangerous and that since they’re produced in unregulated ‘dorm room labs’ – there’s no way to say what’s really in them.
Synthetic marijuana - it’s a high that’s still legal in 49 states. Although herbal incense products like K2 are marked ‘not for human consumption’, for teens, they’re a hot ticket item that provide a marijuana like high, without risk of sanction.
While users may love the worry free smoke, health officials, and increasingly, lawmakers, aren’t as keen on its legality.
Kansas was the first state to ban the use and sale of synthetic marijuana, passing legislation regulating the substance earlier this month. Missouri looks set to follow quickly down the same path, with a similar bill now awaiting state senate approval.
Products like K2 are a mix of herbs that are sprayed with psychoactive substances designed to induce intoxications similar to that produced by marijuana. Problematically, these products, which come largely out of Asia, are completely unregulated.
Dr. Gaylord Lopez, head of the Georgia Poison Center summed up his concerns, saying, “this particular chemical is likely manufactured in a dorm-room setting. And these dorm-room scientists are not going to be exhibiting a lot of quality assurance techniques. As a result, there's a potential for users to inhale contaminants along with the substance they think they're smoking.”
Lopez says that his Center has handled 20 cases of K2 poisoning, after users of the substance visited emergency rooms complaining of symptoms like heart palpitations and breathing problems.
Dawn Dearden, of the DEA, mimicked Dr. Lopez’s worry, saying Synthetic drugs and herbal drug products like Spice and K2 are not made in a controlled environment and thus you are playing Russian roulette when it comes to these types of products.”
K2 is at present listed as a drug of concern by the DEA. It has been banned in the UK, Germany, Poland and France. Georgia, Tennessee, Utah, Kentucky and Illinois are also considering bans.