OK I know that this post is not about criminal activity, but it should be, and I felt like I needed to post this to inform people who may have not heard about it.
In the 1990’s John W. Huffman, a chemist at Clemson University was studying the brain’s receptors for marijuana use. Huffman created what is now called a synthetic marijuana, known as JWH 018, a compound that stimulates the same receptors in the brain that are activated by smoking marijuana.
K2 Incense also known as “Fake weed” is an herbal incense or a potpourri that can be burned like any other incense/potpourri in a small burner and it has been sprayed with this synthetic marijuana. Fake weed contains no illegal substances but offers a way to get high that is almost identical to natural marijuana. Even though it clearly states on the package that this is not to be smoked there is still some people who are choosing to smoke it. This knock off weed is packaged and known by a variety of names with “K2′, “fake weed”, and “spice incense” being a few of the popular ones.
This new product knocked a teenager named Tyler Hartman from Polk County, Missouri unconscious for five hours, but those who sell it say it’s mild and safe. K2 is something that this 14-year-old Tyler Hartman heard about from his friends.
“They’d all tried it, and it didn’t kill them, so I just decided to try it,” stated Tyler. So when he was at a friend’s house Tuesday in Fair Play, he decided to try it. According to Tyler he said that he only took just one hit.”I sat there, and the room spun a little, and that’s really all that I remember,” said Tyler.
When Tyler began to vomit, have seizures, and even quit breathing, his friends parents called for an ambulance and then they called his family and delivered news to them that no parent wants to ever hear. Tyler’s parents arrived at his friend’s house just minutes before the EMT got there. “The EMT’s dragged him out of the house on a gurney,” said James Hartman, Tyler’s father.
Tyler spent the night in ICU and remained unconscious for five hours, while his family waited and worried.”They did blood work, and they done a drug test, and everything came back negative,” said James Tyler. Thankfully, he came out of it.
“I was waking up, and was just in a room looking around, and then I saw a bunch of doctors walking around, so I’m like, ‘Oh, wow,'” Tyler said. ”
Since the release of this incense it has become a very popular selling product. Many stores that sell K2 have reported record sales, some stating that they have sold K2 by the case. Stores have even reported that they have customers that have come in and told said that their doctors have sent them in there for pain such as fibromyalgia, or if they’re having chemotherapy treatment, they can come get it for nausea.
However, Tyler has a different opinion. “Not to do it. It’s not really a very intelligent choice,” stated Tyler.
Of course, Tyler’s parents think the stuff should be illegal. But right now it’s not illegal at a State or Federal level. Springfield Police stated that Greene County has sent this K2 to the state crime lab to have it analyzed. Police stated that it does not contain THC, like marijuana, and therefore, does not qualify as criminal.
Where Can Teens and Adults Buy K2 and Spice Incense?
K2-Synthetic marijuana covered incense/potpourri is available on the street, in health stores, for purchase on the Internet and is sold at local head shops, stores that carry smoking paraphernalia. Selling K2 and spice incense are completely legal. There’s no age limit for buying herbal incense. The cost of fake weed is comparable to the price of actual marijuana. Teens and adults may reason that they can get high at the same cost of buying real pot, but will be able to pass any drug test and therefore they are truly not do anything illegal.
But John W. Huffman told Live Science that synthetic marijuana is ten times stronger than THC, the natural compound found in natural marijuana. So what does that mean to teens smoking fake marijuana? It means that teens might be smoking less K2 or spice incense to get high than if using real marijuana. The fake stuff could be more cost-effective to use. But John W. Huffman warns that no official testing has been done on JWH 018 and the health risks that synthetic marijuana poses.
What are the Side Effects of Fake Weed?
Teens and adults smoking K2 incense or any incense containing synthetic marijuana definitely get the intended result – they get high, but additional side effects are being reported. The extra side effects from using fake weed are proving to be very different from using natural marijuana.
Dr. Anthony Scalzo, director of the Missouri Regional Poison Control Center has documented at least thirty cases of adverse side effects from teens smoking K2 and spice incense. This is reported in the CBS News article “Fake Weed K2 Can Cause Hallucinations” posted on March 4, 2010. Parents should look for the following signs:
- Pale skin
- Severe Agitation
- Elevated heart rate
If teens and adults are smoking synthetic weed products to get high, they are at risk for extra side effects not produced by marijuana use. Also either the synthetic copycat marijuana or other compounds used on K2 and spice incense may have long-term health effects for teens and adults. No one knows the long-range effects of lab created JWH 018 because studies have not been conducted on humans.
Even though K2 incense also known as “fake weed” is not considered illegal by our Government, the officals of a small town in Arkansas called Alpena have banned it out of concern for their town’s well-being.
In Alpena, Arkansas population 371, the mayor and city council have banned the sale or possession of the blend of herbs, botanical, and synthetic compounds called K2.
“We were hearing a lot of folks were buying it and using it,” said Alpena Police Chief Mark Bailey.
“We decided, we might as well get it done. Somebody’s gotta do it,” said Alpena Mayor Bobbie Bailey.
In a study being done on K2, a toxicologist at Saint Louis University said he has seen more than 30 cases of Missouri teenagers having hallucinations, severe agitation, elevated heart rates, vomiting, and seizures. In Alpena, police learned it was that same age group, of about 16 to 25, who were trying K2.
It was an alternative that they found they could find pretty readily. It was being sold at one convenience store in town called the Red X.
Now, if found in Alpena, stores face having their business license revoked and a $200 fine for each sale, while persons in possession face a $500 fine.”We’re going to do what we say we’re going to do, if and when they do it,” said Mayor Bailey.
Now outlawed, at least in the city limits of Alpena, officials feel it’s the best thing.
“People were really trying it to see what effects it was causing, and some of the side effects we heard were pretty scary, and I’m glad it was banned, and I think the town’s going to be safer because of it,” said Chief Bailey.
Also in Kansas, a ban on K2 awaits the governor’s signature, and in Missouri, a similar ban is being considered in the Legislature. The mayor says, while states like Kansas and Missouri have been working toward a ban on K2, a state legislature’s process simply takes much longer than a small town’s. Alpena officials hope surrounding jurisdictions follow suit; they’ve had inquiries about their ban from Carroll County and the City of Hollister, Mo.