When people are reminded of substance abuse and addiction, they usually think of such substances as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin to name but a few. While these substances are some of the most frequently abused, there are actually many more substances that you may not even be aware are posing a huge threat to communities large and small. For instance, bath salts are a substance that has recently become highly publicized due to the numerous instances in which users have harmed themselves or others after having become intoxicated from bath salts. In fact, the state of Florida seems to have experienced an elevated number of bath salt-related incidents, causing a moderate hysteria that persists even today.
However, bath salts aren’t the only substance that, until very recently, remained relatively obscure. Some of these substances are actually things that can be purchased legally or which can be found around your own home. Certain cleaning supplies are commonly “huffed” — which refers to when the fumes of a substance are inhaled so as to cause intoxication — and the huffing of these toxic chemicals has been known to cause severe brain damage among many other injuries. Additionally, a substance that’s recently experienced a surge in popularity by being a “legal” alternative to marijuana has been found to be significantly more dangerous than anyone had initially believed. Therefore, the following will describe what this unexpectedly dangerous substance — called K2 — is made of, how it can be legal, and what makes it so dangerous.
What Exactly is K2?
Aside from alcohol, marijuana has remained one of the most frequently abused and popular mind-altering substances. Being an herbal substance that grows naturally and offers its effects without much human influence, marijuana is increasingly seen as being a drug that presents very little danger to users, which is likely also a result of there being numerous U.S. states to legalize medicinal marijuana while several have even legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. However, the fact remains that marijuana is still illegal to possess and use in the majority of the U.S. For those who want to enjoy marijuana but live in states where marijuana is illegal, there would naturally be an appeal in substances that could offer effects comparable to those of marijuana while being a substance that’s technically legal and available for purchase in retail locations.
K2 is a well-known brand name of what has essentially become a stand-in for marijuana that has seen a momentous gain in popularity since approximately 2008. This synthetic marijuana is also known by a number of other names, but K2 and “spice” are among the most commonly used. If K2 was as similar to marijuana as it was believed, the effects would have included such things as lightheadedness, increase in appetite, moderate sensory distortion, reduced coordination and fine motor control, pronounced drowsiness, significantly diminished response time, and an increase in heartbeat. However, the actual effects of K2 tend to differ from those that would be expected of a marijuana, but before we get into the specific effects of K2, let’s discuss how the synthetic marijuana can be legal if it’s so dangerous.
If K2 is Dangerous, How Can it be Legal?
In short, the reason why synthetic forms of marijuana like K2 and “spice” are legal is because they’re not sold for the purpose of human consumption. Where it’s sold in the majority of retail locations, it’s labeled as incense rather than as a marijuana substitute. As long as the packaging of these products state that the substance inside shouldn’t be consumed in any way, the sale of synthetic marijuana remains legal despite the fact that the people who buy it intend to smoke it. And it’s not as simple as just making synthetic marijuana illegal. For one thing, most consumer products can be harmful if used incorrectly, and just because some might misuse a substance doesn’t mean everyone who would want the product for its intended purposes should be unable to purchase it. Additionally, the production of synthetic marijuana involves spraying ground herbs with one of many different chemicals that can be used, so if the chemical in K2 were made illegal, it would simply be replaced with another chemical that isn’t yet illegal and which would still offer the “high” that buyers seek.
What Makes K2 so Dangerous?
The reason that synthetic marijuana produces like K2 are dangerous is because of the chemicals that are added to the product to give it the infamous effects. And even though the substance is widely used and referred to as a replacement for marijuana, its effects are very different from those of any form of cannabis. Since there are a wide variety of chemicals that are used in synthetic marijuana products, there’s much variability in the effects that these substances offer. Generally, some of the symptoms that synthetic marijuana users experience include racing heartbeat, severe dizziness and nausea that often reaches the point of induced vomiting, tremors and possibly seizures, confusion, agitation, profound sensory distortion, and hallucinations. Making matters worse, not only are the actual effects dangerous, but they often cause individuals to put themselves in even greater danger such as if they were to drive a car while under the influence or participate in extremely risky behaviors.
Are There Treatment Options Available for K2 Addiction?
As with any other substance, there are treatment options available for those who have used K2 or another form of synthetic marijuana for an extended period of time. The most effective way to overcome an extended period of K2 use would be to begin with a detox treatment, which will give the individual a period of time in which to cleanse the body of any of the toxins that would have been introduced by the synthetic marijuana. Additionally, an inpatient program for K2 addiction would not only offer the treatment needed to overcome addiction to synthetic marijuana, but the intensive psychotherapy offered in such a program gives patients a way to learn and understand some of the underlying processes that contributed to their K2 abuse and addiction. By learning why they turned to K2 in the first place, they can develop ways of mitigating those factors so they don’t contribute to a relapse in the future.
Set Sail for the Seas of Sobriety by Calling the Palm Beach Institute
As dangerous as K2 has proven to be, there are many substances to which people are becoming addicted all the time. That’s why the Palm Beach Institute offers rehab-matching and recovery-planning services to anyone in need. If you or someone you love would benefit from a free consultation with one of our experienced recovery specialists, call the Palm Beach Institute at 855-960-5456 today. Whether day or night, we’re available to help you or your loved one take the first steps on the journey to lasting health and happiness.