Health

Synthetic Marijuana, Or K2, Use On The Rise In New York City
Health

Synthetic marijuana overdoses on K2 and Spice are breaking out body bags

The consumption of K2 and Spice are drawing major public health concerns.

Feb 20, 2018 - Rob Hoffman

A man passed out due to the drug K2 is viewed in an area which has witnessed an explosion in the use of K2 or ‘Spice’, a synthetic marijuana drug, in East Harlem on September 02, 2015 (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Synthetic Marijuana, Or K2, Use On The Rise In New York City

A man passed out due to the drug K2 is viewed in an area which has witnessed an explosion in the use of K2 or ‘Spice’, a synthetic marijuana drug, in East Harlem on September 02, 2015 (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Last month, officials in New Haven, Connecticut, released a public health alert after local police tended to 12 synthetic marijuana overdoses in a single week. They have not yet released information on how many of these overdoses resulted in deaths.

The synthetic marijuana causing the public health concern goes under the name K2 or Spice. In one case, an individual who smoked K2/Spice was put into an induced coma. Others experienced cardiac arrest after smoking the drug.

According to one study, published in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, K2/Spice “produce a variety of dangerous acute and chronic adverse effects, including psychosis, seizures, tolerance, dependence, and death, with a greater severity and frequency than observed following marijuana use.”

While K2/Spice is listed as a Schedule I drug, another synthetic version of cannabis with similarly harmful side effects and potential for abuse was recently approved by the DEA for medical use.

Synthetic pot overdoses k2 spice 1 of 2 The United Nations just warned member states to keep recreational cannabis illegal
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 05: A man prepares to smoke K2 or “Spice”, a synthetic marijuana drug, along a street in East Harlem on August 5, 2015, in New York City. New York, along with other cities, is experiencing a deadly epidemic of synthetic marijuana usage including varieties known as K2 or “Spice” which can cause extreme reactions in some users. According to New York’s health department, more than 120 people visited an emergency room in the city in just one week in April. While the state banned the ingredients used to make K2 in 2012, distributors have switched to other ingredients and names in an attempt to circumvent the law. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Last November, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) announced their approval of this synthetic cannabis, called dronabinol, which is made by pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics under the name Syndros. Dronabinol is now listed as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, despite the fact that real marijuana remains a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical treatment use.”

According to the DEA’s own summary of this synthetic marijuana, “Oral consumption of dronabinol, compared to inhaled THC, may result in psychoactive effects that are delayed and stronger with an increased risk of experiencing serious adverse events.” The DEA also admits that this synthetic marijuana “can easily be abused orally and may result in unintended overdoses.”

By contrast, there is still no evidence that it is possible to overdose on cannabis.

Synthetic marijuana targets the same two receptors in the brain— known as CB1 and CB2—that are activated by consuming cannabis. For this reason, many are left scratching their heads as to why a synthetic version of marijuana with a high potential for harm and abuse is federally permitted to be used as a medicine when real marijuana can achieve similar medical benefits without these risks and negative side effects.

While the makers of Syndros are based in Arizona, K2 is manufactured in factories in China. Despite K2’s illegal status, it can still be found in convenience stores across America. More recently, in New Haven, eight individuals were arrested and charged with selling K2.


Share This

Related Articles

Synthetic marijuana overdoses are becoming more common across the country.

76 Synthetic Marijuana Overdoses Reported on One Day in a Connecticut Park. Here, a man is shown being assisted by paramedics

They were handing out free samples near Yale University, where a majority of the overdoses later occurred.

John Parker and Felix Melendez are two suspects arrested in the case of 114 synthetic cannabis overdoses in Connecticut. Here, a police car is shown blocking off the road in New Haven Connecticut in 2009

Nearly half of all drug arrests are for marijuana.

Lawyers Team Up To Clear Pot Possession Charges Nationwide

Comments

Stay in the loop

Exclusive deals, original content.
Delivered to you.