Legal Synthetic K2, Called “Weaponized Marijuana,” Causing Health Problems


A rash of users have ended up in New York City emergency rooms and behaved violently in public after taking a synthetic form of marijuana known as K2, the Wall Street Journal reports. Cracking down on the drug poses a different set of challenges from trying to get older drugs off the streets. Cheap, powerful and unpredictable in quality, K2 is a blend of chemicals sprayed on cardboard or plant matter, intended to mimic the sedating effects of pot. Users smoke the drug, also called Spice, Black Mamba and Bombay Blue. New York police commissioner William Bratton has described K2 as “weaponized marijuana” that can make users go “totally crazy.”

Using or selling K2 isn't a criminal offense. Some legislators are trying to outlaw it. Doctors familiar with K2 say it poses a different sort of menace from older drugs such as cocaine or heroin. “The effects are unpredictable,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny of the substance abuse rehabilitation center Phoenix House. He described reactions that can range from sedation to hallucinations, psychosis and seizures. “It's just a very nasty drug in many, many ways.”

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