K2: Popularity of Synthetic Marijuana Has Skyrocketed

Sold at only $5 per bag; the popularity of K2, otherwise known as synthetic marijuana, is skyrocketing for New Yorkers.

What is K2: Synthetic Marijuana?

There are approximately 450 existing synthetic cannabinoid compounds. According to CBS2 news, “Bodegas illegally sell synthetic marijuana for $5 a packet.” The drug itself contains a mixture of herbs and chemicals that exhibit marijuana-like effects.

“Many people use K2 because they wrongly believe it is natural and safe. It is also popular because it is not detected in most standard drug screens,” reported CBS2 news. Over 11,000 people ended up seeking medical attention after indulging in the drug in 2010. In 2011, the amount of hospitalizations more than doubled; 28,531 patients suffered from K2 abuse.

Who Abuses K2?

New York’s homeless community has been affected the most by K2. “On October 30 in New York City, a 45-year-old homeless man high on K2 attempted to ‘surf’ on top of a moving subway car. He was pronounced dead on the scene shortly after.,” said Abby Haglage, writer for The Daily Beast. The drug has been known to give users super strength, paranoia and Psychotic episodes.

What will be done?

Although the sale of synthetic Marijuana is illegal in the United States, smoking it is legal. “It’s often labeled ‘not for human consumption’ and is sold as incense, but looks more like potpourri, according to the New York City Dept. of Health. K2 comes in a variety of brands. “Mr. Nice Guy,” in particular, is one of the more popular brands purchased by abusers. K2 is mostly consumed by smoking but it can also be transformed into a drink by adding hot water.

The DEA has already begun taking steps to set up restrictions on this drug. However, the chemicals within K2 that are harmful to humans must be identified before establishing a new law. This is an especially difficult task as new concoctions of the drugs are continuously being developed and created.

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