According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) K2/Spice is NOT marijuana. Health effects of K2/Spice are unpredictable. It’s often called synthetic marijuana or fake weed because some of its chemicals are like those in marijuana. The effects can be unpredictable and in some cases, severe or even life threatening. Ingredients included in Synthetic Cannabinoids include shredded, dried plant material plus man-made chemicals. But according to the NIDA, you never know what you’re getting with synthetic cannabinoids.
The amount and type of chemicals in each batch varies. Manufacturers are constantly changing chemicals to dodge laws. In 2014, there were 177 different synthetic cannabinoids reported.
These drugs act on many different brain cell receptors, including the receptors that bind to THC (found in marijuana). They produce unpredictable effects that can be dangerous. They can produce nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, suicidal thoughts, violent behavior, paranoia, and hallucination.
In 2016, there were 2,695 calls to poison control centers for harmful exposure from these drugs. 28,531 ER visits were linked to synthetic cannabinoids in 2011. Approximately 30 percent of these visits involved females and 70 percent involved males. Nearly 80 percent of these ER visits were among adolescents and young adults ages 12-29. The Poison Control Hotline is 1-800- 222-1222. Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.