Several States Taking Action to Outlaw Synthetic Marijuana, Known as K2 or Spice

07/12/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

West Palm Beach, FL—Though synthetic weed, commonly known as K2, has gained popularity amongst many individuals within the general population, authorities and health professionals seem to be working towards a nationwide ban of the substance. Eight states have barred the sale and use of the cannabis substitute, while six other states are working towards establishing similar legislation, according to a Monday, July 12, 2010 ABC News report.

K2, also known as Spice, Demon, Genie, Zohai, and several other names, is sold as incense. A label stating the product is “not for human consumption” has seemingly enabled the product to remain on the market, all the while avoiding governmental regulation.

The “incense” contain herbs and synthetic cannabinoids, thus emulating the effects of marijuana’s most active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

However, “Smoking something that’s supposed to be substitute for marijuana, you’re expecting to be mellow… Unfortunately, you’re not getting that. No one really sort of field tested these chemicals. We don’t even know where exactly this stuff is made,” said Dr. Anthony Scalzo, medical director of the Missouri Poison Control Center.

Scalzo, also a professor of emergency medicine at St. Louis University (SLU), began researching the effects of the legal substance after noticing a staggering rise in its use.

Scalzo noted that while there were 13 K2-related emergency calls placed in 2009, that number has risen to 567 this year. The statistics accounted for K2-related calls placed within 41 states.

“The common thread throughout all the cases is the degree of anxiety, agitation, fast heart rate and elevated blood pressure,” Scalzo stated.

A potential link between the use of K2 and a recent case of teenage suicide is also under investigation by health professionals and toxicologists.

Reports indicated 18-year-old David Rozga, of Iowa, and some friends experimented with K2 last month. After smoking the substance, Rozga apparently began “freaking out,” declaring he was “going to hell”. Shortly after, Rozga went home and tragically shot himself in the head.

“Anybody that tries it is like playing Russian roulette… You don’t know what you’re getting. It’s just insane. Anybody who uses it is out of their tree,” said Clemson University chemist John Huffman.

An undergraduate student developed K2 in Huffman’s lab. Its potent chemicals were intended to be used as “research tools,” rather than new mood and mind-altering substances.

According to Brendan Bickley, clinical director of a Southern California-based addiction treatment center, “I call it a treatment-center killer… You can’t detect it. It’s more powerful than marijuana. People who smoke it say it really does mess you up. It causes a person to become extremely high. The withdrawals are horrible. Clients get very angry and agitated.”

Research concerning the risky substance is expected to continue. Bickley noted, “Whatever is being done is not being done fast enough… It’s the perfect drug. It’s legal. It’s undetectable. It’s odorless. It’s cheap.”

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Personal Injury Lawyers.

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