Spice K2: A Legal High to Illegal Drug of Concern by NationalTherapeutics

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									Spice K2: A Legal High to Illegal Drug of Concern

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If you do an Internet search on the word "spice" you will most likely find more than just
information on what herbs to use to flavor to your next meal. The term ‘Spice’ now also
refers to a variety of products sold as legal substitutes for cannabis. In 200 4, Spice began
appearing in head shops and on the Internet with product names such as 'K2', 'Genie',
‘Spice Diamond’, ‘Spice Gold’, ‘Spice Silver’, ’2Spicy’ and ‘Spice of Life’. Now many
countries have either completely banned or are considering 'Spice' as an illegal
controlled substance. The reason being is that Spice contains potent synthetic
cannabinoids, such as JWH-018, JWH-073 and HU-210. These synthetic substances are
similar in chemical structure to the active ingredient as cannabis. Hence, spice is sold as
a legal way to get high.

In the United States, some forms of synthetic cannabis found in spice such as HU -210
are currently listed as a controlled substance that is illegal to possess or use. Several
states have passed acts making it illegal under state law, including Kansas, Georgia,
Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Several other states are also
considering legislation, including Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, and Ohio to
ban Spice and any related products under the synthetic cannabis category. At the
Federal Drug Enforcement level, the Drug Enforcement Agency considers it to be a "drug
of concern". Spice is considered legal just to the north in Canada.

Professor Fabrizio Schifano, Scientific Director of the Psychonaut Web Mapping Project
(www.psychonautproject.eu ) which is a web scanning project devoted to finding and
alerting others to the introduction of new recreational drugs states that: “Spice is sold
as a legal substitute for cannabis and our study has identified a number of websites
offering both information and purchase opportunities”. He goes on further to state that
“Our concern is that very little is known about both human metabolism and toxicity of
these compounds. We plan to use this study, the first multilingual review of Spice, to
raise awareness among health professionals that the World Wide Web is a new resource
for the drug and therefore more information is needed about its effects.”

One of the biggest concerns of Drug Treatment Professionals is that Spice products can
be easily bought online and have mass appeal especially with a younger audience
looking for new ways to get high. The word spreads quickly on forums, chat groups and
social networking sites about its use, where, and how to buy it. In addition, those
working in law enforcement and drug treatment programs have very little options when
it comes to drug testing for Spice. Only until recently have a few drug testing services
been able to successfully detect metabolites in urine samples related to the use of
Spice.

No official studies have been conducted on its effects on humans. Although the effects
of synthetic cannaboids are not well documented or understood, recent evidence
reports that large doses can have negative effects that are not found among marijuana
users, such as increased agitation and vomiting. Professor John W. Huffman who first
synthesized many of the cannabinoids used in synthetic cannabis is quoted as saying,
"It's like playing Russian roulette. You don't know what it's going to do to you." Also
reports of daily use by individuals over a three month period produced withdrawal
symptoms similar to those found in narcotic users.

This article has been provided courtesy of National Therapeutic Services Inc.
(www.livingsober.com) located in Southern California offering one of country's premier
drug and alcohol treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction including
treatment of dual-diagnosis disorder.

								
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