Sunday, May 30, 2010

Controversial K2 Ban Spreads Across Nation Spawning Pro vs Con

Article first published as Controversial K2 Ban Spreads Across Nation, Spawning Pro vs Con Debates on Blogcritics.

Over the past few days I have been researching news reports and the Internet for information reported about the dangers or safety of using K2 and its byproducts. For someone outside looking in, the controversary over the effects and legality of the substance known as K2 is very dynamic in collecting the facts. There are some very distinct commonalities in almost every article, and blogs that are K2 centered, but the biggest source of realistic information comes from the comment sections of each one. The comment sections are very opinionated, bias and with anonymity, but it is perhaps the only place filled with the actual facts on the effects of K2. Their individual experiences.

The facts and theories in the articles and some of the blogs come from professionals in the medical and psychological field and are very insightful. Here we are hearing from doctors, policemen, and politicians with common and extreme views covering their aspect of researching and/or experiences with K2 and its users

What Is K2 And How Is It Used

K2 and its derivatives are produced in the countries of China and Korea as incense and potpourri treated with various chemicals that make it an alternative method to getting a marijuana-like high without the marijuana. The main concerns regard its dangers to its users since it is becoming very popular with teenagers and is sold legally without any federal laws or regulations in place to govern it and its uses. The exact number of chemicals added by spray is unknown, however, one of the main ingredients identified is a chemical identified is a synthetic THC name JWH-018.

JWH-018 was created in the 1990s by a science student at Clemson University named Huff who intended to test the effects of THC on rats. No humans were used for testing, meaning that there has been no concrete data collected about its possible side effects, benefits or use in/for human beings. It is not known how, but someone got hold of Huff's formula then discovered that it had the ability to give a person a marijuana-like high. When and how the formula made its way out of the United States and into China or Korea is also unknown.

Disregarding the labeled warning on the K2 packaging that it was not for human consumption, teenagers and adult abusers ingest K2 by rolling it in paper like marijuana, then smoke it like a joint/cigarette, in pipes, bongs or vaporizers as they would with marijuana. Unlike marijuana and other drug favorites, there are no procedures available, chemical or otherwise, that can detect K2 in its user. This makes it hard for law enforcement officers and medical personnel to identify an abuser of K2 that has been detained for a traffic stop or medical treatment.

Being undetectable is the main reason for its increasing popularity with the teenagers and people whose employer requires its employees to drug test, because they still want to get high. They can not be terminated for ingesting K2 prior to reporting for work since K2 is so new that no one has created a detection procedure for it plus it is sold legally. Some retailers have reported that their customer base is not only filled with teens, college students, and parolees, but with professional people as well, including law enforcement.


K2's Alternative Identities

You can find K2 by various names sold mainly in Head Shops and on the Internet. Keep in mind that this list is non-inclusive because time has proven that manufacturers will undoubtedly work around any ban put in place by the government on their products by making small changes to it and giving it a new identity or name. The following list of K2 names were collected mostly from the comment section of articles and blogs posted on the Internet by users and professionals.

K2 is also known as: Spice, Supernova, Genie, zohal, skunk and spirit with various blends like blonde, citron, summit, standard, space, watermelon chiba, Spice Silver, pink, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, K2 Blue, K2 Blue Supper Summit and Yucatan fire.


Dangerous Or Safe

Observed And User Reported K2 Effects

The Negative Side

K2 like many dangerous and safety tested products; K2 does not react the same way in everyone's biological system. By running a search on the Internet for the keywords of "K2" and "ban" I received around 3 pages of valuable "hits" providing me with enough information to determine what may be the truth or just someone’s opinion.

The side effects had both positive and negative reactions that were common to most of the comments and article contents that I read. Before I start, I need to point out that there is not any verifiable data for using K2, and by not knowing what will happen once you consume or digest something presents a potential danger to the person consuming it.

The most common effects that I noticed by what the commenter said happen after using K2. First the negative: almost immediately there were severe headaches lasting anywhere from approximately 2 hours to about 10 days, sometimes much longer. The headaches were accompanied with nausea lasting at least 2 hours; experiencing blackouts; flashbacks like what PCP users experience; severe paranoia to the point of total panic; an extreme high lasting for over 2 hours, sometimes over 24 hours; clammy, sweaty skin; a pale appearance; increased heart rate; depression; psychotic episodes; anxiety; an "I'm going to die" feeling; erratic breathing; severely impaired vision; twitches, convultions, shakes, seizures, tremors; blood pressure bottoming out; sheer terror; dizziness; delayed reactions to surroundings; mind wandering; vomiting; profound sweating; sleepiness; disorientation; high blood pressure; severe hallucinations; confusion: claustiphobia; short term memory loss and severe agitation, As you can see this list has some life threatening side effects, and the list is going to continue to grow.

There was one report of a 16 year-old male attempting to jump into his swimming pool from a second story widow. This was after smoking "fake" marijuana and as you may imagine the results were not like receiving a score of 10 in a diving competition. His mother stated that he had to have 69 stitches. Another person that reported to a hospital with multiple K2 adverse reactions listed above said that he saw the devil dragging him to hell and demons mocking him.

A Doctor Scalzo, St. Louis University in Missouri also reported that he had treated 30 teenagers at a hospital emergency room after they had consumed K2, and their reaction was nothing like the kind normally seen with marijuana use. They had experienced 10 of the above listed reactions. Another doctor stated that 160 cases where K2 were treated for respiratory problems and high blood pressure. It is also possible that K2 attacks the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

In Colorado, a television reporter equipped with a hidden camera walked into a Head Shop to purchase some K2. Not only was he able to buy some K2, the store clerk told the reporter how to get high with K2 taking 1 or 2 hits and waiting for 5 minutes.


The Reported Positive Side

For every Con, there is a Pro side to every issue ever debated. I would be unfair and commit an injustice if I did not also report on the expressed positive effects of the substance named K2 or Spice. There has not been an official study on the effects of K2 making what I present here based on what was placed in the comment sections of the blogs and articles I research for this article. One comment stated that there is not any official information from a study or testing, but everyone wants to present the alleged negative effects of K2 to support the proposed banning of K2.

What I present here is public information (literary material placed in a public location for all to see) taken from the alleged commenters’ that are professed drug users.

Many stated they believe that K2 is the perfect substitute for the illegal marijuana that is so widely used. The best compromise would be to replace K2 with the natural herb, marijuana, by making it legal to possess, use, purchase or barter. Since the opinion of the majority, the consensus has concluded that marijuana is the lesser of the two evils because its effects are not as dangerous as those present with K2.

Comparing K2 usage to marijuana use, the problem that is making K2 so dangerous is that no one is very familiar with K2, there is no official documented information on the long and short term use of K2, that the people having the adverse reactions are using it like marijuana and not entering the river without knowing what to expect. The adverse user does not know that K2 is 3 to 5 times stronger than marijuana and that they should use less to obtain the high they get from smoking a lot of marijuana.

The users proclaim that they have not ran into any adverse because they go in smoking a lesser amount K2 compared to using marijuana. A person can get an enjoyable high if they smoke K2 in moderation instead of jumping off a tall building or bridge knowing that you would be safer if you 1. were able to fly or 2. was close enough to the ground or water when you. On the average taking about 1 to 3 puffs (hits) of K2 will give you the same level of intoxication as in smoking at minimum a whole joint. You know the saying, ". . . puff, puff, give".

The high feeling from K2 comes a lot faster than marijuana, by being felt almost immediately, where as marijuana's is delayed because it has to penetrate the lungs, to get into your blood. Everyone is claiming to not having an adverse experience, but a mild chilling feeling smoke a minimum amount because they did not know how they would be affected.

If you pay attention to what blend you or your buddies are using, you will find that K2 Blue is one of the strongest K2 blends, if not the strongest.

Experienced users reported the following positive K2 effects that they had: relaxation; at worse, a mild headache; giggly; dreamlike trip from K2 Blue; it's legal; high last less than marijuana; drops off rather quickly; it does not support gun toting drug dealers and cartels; an entire body high feeling; and you use lesser quantity than you do with marijuana.


Who Should Take Action About K2

In areas that have all ready banned all K2 products by introducting ordinances making it a misdemeanor to sell, barter, possess or use any products containing the substance titled JWH-018 and other chemicals contained in K2 and on average could face a fine of up to $1000, and one year of confinement. Arrests have all ready been made in Lawrence, Kansas, for being in possess of K2 and Spice for distribution in a locale where it has been banned. The raid was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration along with the sheriff department proclaiming that the search and seizure was for prohibited drugs and not for the possession of K2, which was confiscated and the owner detained by law enforcement personnel for violating a new ordinance making K2 illegal within the state at a future date. This means that the owner, if facing charges for having K2 for sell on the premises, was illegally arrested for a law that is not in force until July 1, 2010, a later date than the date of arrest.

There has been arrests made in Crawford and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas, and in the state of Kentucky where laws banning K2 has all ready been enacted. In each instant there was no known means or physical indication that K2 had been used in either location of arrests. A great portion of the controversy could be eliminated if the Congress would introduce and pass legislation that would make K2 and its derivatives be listed in the scheduling of the FDA as a controlled substance or drug. Then states would not have to go through the steps of making K2 illegal, but they would just have to come up with the dealings of K2 when their law enforcement come upon a K2 situation constituting a violation of the new federal law.

Since there is a perceived danger to using this substance, Congress should forego recessing the current session until legislation could be introduced and signed into law. They are expected to recess for the summer next week. Using this being an election year as an excuse for not confronting volatile issues that is plaguing this country now like the Arizona Immigration Law and use of K2. This not the time to side-step when their constituents need the people they elected to office to represent their interest and affairs.


In Closing

One notable adverse reaction is that many users feel that "Big Brother" is strong arming its way into people lives by banning a product that is legal before conducting a thorough study on the effects of K2 denying American citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. The feeling is that the federal government is stepping into the States’ operational domain.

K2, Spice and their derivatives are the newest plague to attack the American society along with the international controversary over a state in the US enforcing federal legislation that affect its citizens and helps the rest of the nation. K2 is not as deadly as the terrorist group Al-Quaeda is to the United States, but it is alarmingly becoming one of the most dangerous enemies to weaken our youths. Is K2 a plan to weaken America's future or is it just a coincidence that it migrated to our shores at a time when the Obama Administration is facing hard times politically.

Contrary to what is happening across the nation where the smallest elements of our government, the cities, are making decisions that Congress should have convened on. This is not just a young issue that is affecting "Billy Bob" in the country, but a quickly maturing problem that is dividing our nation just as the controversial immigration reform law passed in Arizona is doing. This issue just is not as volatile as offending a neighboring nation whose people are creating the problem our nation is fighting over.

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