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Albright College

TIP OF THE MONTH

The truth about K2
By Nicole Kelly ‘12

With the chance of passing a standard drug test, K2, a “legal synthetic pot”, has risen in popularity, sparking the interest in many medical researchers.  This common, recreationally used Spice offers a “marijuana-like high” and has been found on streets around the world since 2004. But what is it?

The synthetic process remains a mystery to most researchers; it uses some unknown combination of dried herbal substances which are sprayed with an artificial psychotropic mixture of toxins. Thus, it produces a dose of synthetic cannabinoid, reported almost 10 times greater than the THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, of typical marijuana.

Though research lacks on the ramification, both short and long term, of K2, studies of the synthetic drug have been found to run parallel to those reports on regular marijuana and its uses and effects. Within minutes of using marijuana, you are able to feel its effect. Most commonly you would develop rapid heart rate coupled with a slowed reaction time as well as paranoia, anxiety, and depression. These are just some of the many physical and psychological effects which can last for several hours.

For typical marijuana, the dose of THC from the high is absorbed directly and rapidly into the body. And dependent on the frequency of consumption as well as the amount during consumption, the THC can thrive in your system for anywhere from 24 hours to three months time.

However, with little that is known about K2, researchers do know that it causes greater effects than that of regular marijuana. Some of the dangerous effects include vomiting, agitation, drastic rise in blood pressure and heart rate, and intense hallucinations and in some cases seizures have also been observed. Researchers, too, believe K2 has a greater and dangerous effect on your cardiovascular and nervous system, which carries a great deal of concern. Heart rates of 150 and blood pressure of 200 over 100 have been seen.

Because the production of K2 lacks quality control or regulation of almost any kind, you can never be sure of what you are getting. The spice is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption or sale. As well, many strains of this man-made chemical are structurally similar to many known cancer- causing agents.

Heavy consumption leads to distinct problems in males, as opposed to females. Lower testosterone levels as well as sperm count and quality, have been reported; additionally, so has fertility and a decrease in libido. But perhaps most importantly, similar to marijuana, K2 harbors the risk of addiction. Marijuana is addictive, both psychologically and physically; with those affected feeling actual symptoms of withdrawal, when trying to quit.
Please be smart about your choices and aware of what’s out there.

 

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