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The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana (K2-Spice)


STAND is a subcommittee of Richland County Partnership for Promise Coalition whose focus is substance abuse prevention. During National Drug Fact Week January 28th through February 3rd, STAND would like to educate parents on the dangers of synthetic marijuana, more commonly known as “K2” and “Spice”.

Whatever perceptions people have of marijuana, they should not underestimate the risk of this drug or make the mistake that synthetic marijuana is somehow less dangerous than cultivated marijuana. K2 or Spice is a mixture of herbs or other plant materials that have been sprayed with artificial chemicals that are supposed to mimic the effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is important to note that K2/Spice is completely synthetic, so while these drugs may act on the same parts of the brain and body as THC, the effects can be very different and potentially lethal.

The physical signs of use are very troubling; parents may notice increased agitation in their son or daughter, profuse sweating, pale skin, or vomiting. But what may be of the greatest concern is the loss of physical control – a kind of brain-body disconnect. This is where you may see seizures, a lack of pain response or uncontrolled spastic body movements. While these drugs may be “news” to many parents, more than one in 10 American high school seniors used synthetic marijuana in the previous year according to a “Monitoring the Future” study.

The challenge for regulators and parents is to stay ahead of the new formulas and versions of these drugs that may not be covered by current law.

Richland County Sheriff Brad Baisch stated that although the use of K2/Spice is not as prevalent as other illegal drugs, it is still a concern for law enforcement because of the extreme dangers the synthetic drug has. “We are not seeing a lot of the K2/Spice but that does not mean it is not out there. When it comes to combating Spice in the schools and community, education is the key”. Sheriff Baisch encourages all community members, and especially parents and their children to ask questions and get involved and to engage your child in conversations about the extreme dangers of these synthetic drugs.

Area Schools in Richland County have reported some K2 and Spice use by a few students which all resulted in emergency room visits. STAND has worked with School Administration in Lambert, Savage, Sidney and Fairview to provide informational fliers on K2 and spice to all students’ parents to inform them of the drug’s dangers as well as the signs and symptoms to watch for.

A former user of spice shared how quickly he became addicted to the drug, stating he went from using 1 ½ grams a day to 10 grams a day in 5 months. He stated his entire life was turned upside down, and that he could not function physically or mentally and was unable to eat, sleep and was restless and irritable. “The first time I used I suffered from paralysis on my face, I looked like I had a stroke. I’ve witnessed other users having seizures, hallucinations and severe migraines and compare my withdrawals to coming off of heroin. My advice to others is don’t use, it’s a huge mental set back and you become literally dumb”.

Steven Bailey, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer stated “many kids have the false belief that Spice is a safe alternative to marijuana. They are wrong. Spice is an unregulated, illegal chemical mix. The kids don’t know what they are getting. The amount, and types, of chemicals vary widely from one Spice to another. Spice can be devastating to the development of your mind. You really don’t know what exactly is in the mix if you’re purchasing Spice or how toxic it could be. That’s a potent combination that can have a serious effect on your future. It’s just not worth it to lose part of your life”. Bailey urges parents to please talk to their children about the dangers of Spice. “A conversation at the dinner table could save you a trip to the ER tomorrow”.

The appeal of K2 and Spice by youth is the ease of access and the fact that it is less expensive than marijuana to buy. So what can parents and others say to young people about the dangers of these drugs? A good overarching message to kids is to avoid putting anything in their bodies that changes their feelings or emotions – whether it is something they would smoke, drink, or take in pill form. The human brain is an incredible machine, and you need to be even more careful with a teenage brain because it is a work in progress. For more information on “K2” or “Spice” Please contact Diana Spencer or Nicole Hackley at 433-4097 or visit or see STAND on Face Book


Reader Comments

babygirl19 writes:

My daughter is 19 years old and had been smoking K2 on a regular basis. She came to my house on a saturday and had been vomiting for days. The days following she thought people were shooting at her, shooting at me and talking to people that were not there. We went to the ER where she just got worse & combati.She eventualy was put into a coma and on a respirator in ICU. By the grace of God when she woke up she was ok. Scariest thing i have ever been through. I didnt think she was coming back.


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