K2 is a common name for a substance that’s come to be known as “synthetic marijuana.”
This drug has gradually increased in popularity as it gains a reputation as a legal form of cannabis, but despite some similarities to the naturally growing plant-based intoxicant, K2 and others are man-made chemical compounds combined into a liquid. This drug is often made of over 700 research chemicals known as “cannabinoids” – elements that interact with THC receptors in the brain, producing sensations similar to a marijuana high.
The alarming trend of young people smoking this illegal substance is especially concerning because drugs like K2 are not as safe as actual cannabis and can in fact be quite dangerous. However, comparing the drug to marijuana often fools young people into thinking the substance is free from any risk of deadly overdose. It was even classically sold as crushed-up plant material to make it look like marijuana or tobacco, but the plants themselves have no effect on the human brain. The K2 is simply sprayed onto this mulch.
It can be difficult to determine how much synthetic marijuana could trigger an overdose due to the fact that the chemicals used in the drug are constantly being changed by manufacturers in order to market it as an entirely new and technically legal product. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has outlawed many forms, but new ones keep popping up.
Unlike real cannabis, K2 and similar synthetic intoxicants are addictive, can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, and result in dangerous overdose. In 2010, over 11,400 people ended up in the emergency room due to synthetic marijuana in spite of its use still being relatively rare in the US. Researchers are still trying to catch up with this comparatively new phenomenon, but reported overdose symptoms have included:
- Blurred vision
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Severe anxiety
- Extreme agitation
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Heart attack
Effects can also be unpredictable due to the ever-changing massive number of chemicals in the substance.
Some of these compounds affect other areas of the brain besides THC receptors and seem to cause effects similar to opioids.Additionally, “bad batches” of synthetic marijuana have resulted in groups of people being poisoned and presenting dangerous symptoms from even mild use.
Unfortunately, it truly is impossible at the time to determine how much K2 would trigger an overdose. Due to its unpredictability, it’s best to avoid this drug altogether. No matter what a seller might say, K2 is not at all natural and any batch of the stuff could be incredibly dangerous. It definitely cannot be used like real cannabis, which thus far has been proven to be physically safe even at very high doses, though it may cause emotional distress and lead to addiction.
Addiction to K2 and other kinds of synthetic marijuana is a serious matter. As manufacturers begin to sell the drug in the form of oil to cater to e-cigarette and vape pen users, more people are being hurt and killed by this drug. Every time a new variety of the drug emerges, there are new potential dangers. Anyone who finds themselves addicted to K2 should seek professional addiction treatment, especially before making any attempt to quit as withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe, and relapse increases the chance of overdose.