Some science behind the scenes
Spice and K2
'Spice' and 'K2' are just two of the names given to various combinations of synthetic cannabinoids used for 'recreational' purposes. The exact drugs used and their quantities can vary enormously, as such there is no one ‘spice’ product, but a whole series, whose potency can vary and whose activity can also vary enormously. They were intended to mimic cannabis and are sold and marketed with this label – cannabis substitutes.
A large number of the products are sold as smoking blends, marketed under trade names like AM-HI-CO, Dream, Spice (Gold, Diamond), Zoom, Ex-ses, Yucatán Fire and others. Others have been called Hawaiian Rose and Blue Lotus. A variety of synthetic cannabis called Kronic is available in Australia, along with Kalma, Voodoo, Kaos, and Mango Kush.
The pharmaceuticals within the products were developed legally and many of the drugs themselves are still legal – if you turn to the section on ‘Synthetic cannabinoids’ you will find a list of practically all these drugs.
But the effects produced by these cannabis substitute mixtures is often very different from cannabis simply because the drugs from which they were manufactured were not intended for use as cannabis substitutes. Perhaps more important their potency is very high in comparison with cannabis making them toxic products. At the doses in which they are sold they act more as deliriants and can do permanent damage.
Myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and seizures have been associated with the use of the synthetic cannabinoid products. The number of calls to United States poison control centers about synthetic cannabis has doubled. The DEA stated there has been "...a surge in emergency-room visits and calls to poison-control centers. Adverse health effects associated with its use include seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat, and elevated blood pressure."
A large and complex variety of synthetic cannabinoids, for example cannabicyclohexanol, JWH-018, JWH-073, or HU-210, are used in an attempt to avoid the laws that make cannabis illegal. People can find Spice products on the Internet. They have even been sold in some petrol stations in the US.
A number of brands list the ingredients as various herbs believed in the recreational drug community to theoretically be cannabis substitutes, all these are legal – catmint, water lily and lotus for example. On analysis, however, it is found that the ingredients are not these plants at all, but pharmaceuticals.
An analysis of 41 different synthetic cannabis blends sold commercially in New Zealand, conducted by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research and released in July 2011, found 11 different synthetic cannabinoid ingredients used: including JWH-018, JWH-073, AM-694, AM-2201, RCS-4, RCS-4 butyl homologue, JWH-210, JWH-081, JWH-250 (or possibly JWH-302, isomer not determined), JWH-203, and JWH-122—with between one and five different active ingredients, though JWH-018 was present in 37 of the 41 blends tested. In two brands the benzodiazepine anxiolytic drug phenazepam was also found, making it a hypnotic sedative and a dangerous one at that. These drugs have a history of producing involuntary hallucinations, psychosis and addiction. The withdrawal symptoms are terrible.
The synthetic cannabinoids contained in synthetic cannabis products have been made illegal in many European countries. As of March 1, 2011, five cannabinoids, JWH-018, JWH-073, CP-47,497, JWH-200, and cannabicyclohexanol are also now illegal in the US , the following article was written before the ban
From The Spice Drug: A Dangerous New Drug - Melissa McClain
Spice originally appeared on the scene in the late 1990s, but didn’t really become popular until 2008. As the drug gained popularity in Europe, scientists began conducting research into the composition of this drug and any potential effects on the body. As a result of these investigations, many countries subsequently banned Spice including Germany, France, Chile, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, and the U.K. The United States currently has no such ban on the drug, likely due to the fact that it has only recently become popular in the U.S.
German researchers were able to determine that Spice contained a variety of synthetic cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds devised to produce marijuana-like effects. …. Worse yet, Spice appears to have many negative side effects that marijuana does not such as anxiety attacks, hallucinations, nausea, and a chemical dependency. Three teenagers in Roswell, GA were recently hospitalized after using Spice. One teen had a severe reaction to the drug, resulting in swelling of the brain.
Currently there is no way to test for the use of Spice, as it is not a regulated drug. Theoretically, children under the age of 18 cannot buy the drug, as head shops and online stores are not supposed to sell to minors..
But as we can see the ban will be difficult to enforce. Pharmaceutical companies are uncontrolled and when we look at the lists of the most dangerous drugs they are not natural products like cannabis, but pharmaceutically produced products like crack cocaine, amphetamines and heroin.
Governments have opened Pandora’s box by banning natural products, but allowing unrestricted pharmaceutical development – and now the box is open the most dangerous drugs – and those incidentally that do not help with spiritual experience at all - are freely circulating.
If we remember that some of these mixtures contain benzodiazepines [another pharmaceutical] which are devastatingly addictive, the following is easily explained. The seller and manufacturer of these mixtures want them to be addictive, this way they have a permanent customer………
A user who consumed 3 g of Spice Gold every day for several months showed withdrawal symptoms, similar to those associated with withdrawing from the use of narcotics. Doctors treating the user also noted that his use of the product showed signs associated with addiction. One case has been reported wherein a user, who had previously suffered from recurrent psychotic episodes, suffered reactivation of his symptoms after using Spice.
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- Beyond THC: The New Generation of Cannabinoid Designer Drugs
- Emerging drugs of abuse: current perspectives on synthetic cannabinoids
- Identification and quantification of synthetic cannabinoids in 'spice-like' herbal mixtures: a snapshot of the German situation in the autumn of 2012
- Spice/K2 drugs--more than innocent substitutes for marijuana
- Spice: a new "legal" herbal mixture abused by young active duty military personnel