K2, “spice,” “Genie,” or “Zohai,” is a cannabinoid very closely related to THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes users to get high. It is a mixture of herbal/spice plant products sprayed with potent psychotropic drugs, often contaminated with unidentified toxic substances (including lead) which contribute to various adverse health effects (also cause hallucinogenic effects similar to effects of PCP).
It can be bought on the internet or head shops for $25-$30 per gram in packages labeled “Not for human consumption.” K2 originated as JWH-018, a synthetic substance created in a Clemson University laboratory It affects the same receptors in the body as THC.
The findings of Dr. John Huffman, an organic chemistry professor, were published in a 1995 research paper, where it was replicated and the chemical was then used on various smokeables.
Dr. Huffman, when interviewed on K2 said “It is like Russian roulette to use these drugs. We don’t know a darn thing about them for real. It shouldn’t be out there.”
Creates a high, just like weed. It can be smoked in the same manner as weed, such as a bowl, pipe, joint, or bong.
K2 creates a high 4-100 times greater than marijuana, based on the product purchased It has hallucinogenic effects. It can cause seizures. Has lead to coma/unconsciousness
Can cause vomiting Causes numbness/tingling Can elevate BP to dangerous levels, 200/100 in some cases. Has also been known to raise HR to 150 BPM
Medical reports indicate users developing a rapid and powerful addiction on a level not usually found among smokers of “real” marijuana. K2 has a chemical structure shared with known cancer-causing agents. It appears to be stored in the body for long periods of time, and therefore the long-term effects on humans are not fully known.
Currently, K2/Spice is legal in most states. It was banned in Chile, France, Germany, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland as of 2009, and it is under review in several other countries. The six states banning the drug are Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri. Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York are considering bans.
Schedule 1 drug- high tendency for abuse and no accepted medical use A mother of two died after consumption of herbs laced with the drug. Over the past year, approximately 1500 patients were admitted to the ER due to K2 usage. K2 has been linked to impaired driving cases, emergency room admissions in teenagers, and attempted suicides due to it causing anxiety in users.
The drugs contained in K2 are not currently regulated by the federal government. However, the DEA has labeled them as a chemical of concern. Families who have lost loved ones to K2 are outraged and are urging lawmakers to take action.
Its chemicals have been undetectable in drug tests. Recently, changes have been implemented to find the drug in the user’s system. NMS labs is currently the only organization that has the ability to test for K2.
Athletes feel they can use the drug without consequence because it is not illegal. The NCAA has suggested that an “under the influence” law can be used against those consuming it in states where it has yet to be banned.
One theory states a ban will make the herbal market more dangerous due to reasons including that spice smokers who may be smoking it as a substitute for cannabis will shift back to marijuana and can give rise to the use of more dangerous chemicals that are not yet banned. However, a more widespread assumption is that little is known about the drug except for the occasional news story, therefore the mainstream public has yet to catch on.
On November 24th, the DEA used its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, and its cousins JWH-073, JWH-200, CP- 47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol).
This action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.
We can make athletes aware of what this substance can do. We can implement testing as soon as it becomes available. We can counsel those who we suspect of using it, because the health and safety of our athletes is the top priority!
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