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What’s the Difference Between Spice and K2?

People getting high today demonstrate a high amount of resourcefulness in getting their buzz, and a couple of plant-based substances continue to cause concern among professionals in drug rehab centers and families of substance abusers. If someone in your family is smoking spice or K2, you need to know that those drugs are pretty much the same thing, and sellers have been pretty creative about skirting the laws against its sale.

The Many Names of Spice

Maybe you’ve heard it called spice, K2, smoke, genie, Yucatan fire, sence, skunk, bliss, black mamba, or zohai. Those are all names for the same drug, JWH-018, although there are slight variations.

The actual high comes from a man-made chemical originally created by researchers who wanted to study the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Sellers use it to spray it on herbs; it is available in head shops and even gas stations marketed as potpourri or incense. While it is a favorite right now of teens and young adults, anyone who’s craving a marijuana high can get a similar high from using this drug.  Appropriate treatment takes place in licensed drug rehab centers.

The short-term side effects include lack of pain response, elevated levels of agitation, increased sweating, nausea and vomiting, spastic body movements and seizures, as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure, prompting drug treatment center professionals and state legislators to work to get this drug banned from legal use.

The initial problem with doing that was that laws addressed specific components of the chemical, and its manufacturers would simply slightly alter it so that it fell outside of legislated bans.

Finally, in March 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration passed a one-year ban against spice and all synthetic cannabinoids, and it was passed permanently in 2012. By the end of 2012, 41 states had passed specific legislation prohibiting spice, with the exceptions being Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  Nevada, Oregon, and Washington reflected bans by classifying it as a schedule I drug through their state pharmacy boards.

The United States military finally addressed its problematic and growing use among the young men who are serving our country: Its semi-legal status and easy portability made it a favorite among enlisted men. Early in 2012 the Secretary of the Army issued comprehensive wording making it clear that soldiers are not allowed to use it, possess it, manufacture it, sell it, distribute it, import it, or export it.

If someone in your home is using spice you’ll find it packaged in little plastic kitchen-type storage bags, usually with a colorful label stuck on it. Since it’s been categorized in the same DEA schedule as PCP, ecstasy, and marijuana, there should be no question of its legality.

Just as with marijuana and its characterization as a so-called gateway drug, users of spice will find themselves in danger of moving on to other, more serious drugs. Specialists in drug rehab centers are best equipped to help your loved one fight their dependency on this drug.  The  counselors at Vista Taos Renewal Center are ready to help you or your loved one.  Simply call them at 1.800.245.8267.

Read More About It

National Conference of State Legislators, November 2010. http://www.ncsl.org/magazine/trends-and-transitions-october-november-2010.aspx#pot National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lopez, C. Todd, on The Official Homepage of the United States Army, “Spice” Now Illegal, 03/24/2011, http://www.army.mil/article/53810/spice-now-illegal/.

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