Scrutiny for herb used by the young

By chillinwill · Dec 12, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    The green, leafy substance is sold by the gram and packaged in small plastic bags with tie-dye logos.

    But it is not marijuana -- it is called "K2 Summit," a legal herbal incense that sent two Sarasota County students to the hospital this week.

    The 17-year-old boys, who attend Sarasota and Riverview high schools, respectively, were dizzy and disoriented after smoking K2, authorities said. Neither student was seriously ill, but the cases led law enforcement officials and school administrators to issue a warning to parents.

    Sheriff Tom Knight said that in addition to the potential harmful side effects of the substance, using K2 could lead teenagers to get the sense and feel of smoking marijuana or other illegal drugs.

    "It's out there and we want people to be aware of it," said Knight. "It may not be illegal, but it certainly appears to be dangerous."

    K2 is legal to buy and is sold on the Internet or at some local smoke shops at about $15 a gram -- roughly the same price as cheap marijuana.

    Other similar products are on the market and sold locally, such as "Spice," "Tribal Warrior" or "Fire and Ice."

    Drug experts say the herbs are laced with a synthetic chemical that is similar to some of the compounds found in marijuana. The high is minimal, experts say, sort of like the buzz associated with a tobacco cigarette.

    Unlike cigarettes or alcohol, students can buy K2 because there is no age limit on purchase. Also, officials say the incense will not show up in drug tests.

    But the manufacturers, who mark their packages to say "not for human consumption," clearly are marketing the product to drug users.

    "They sell it by the gram," says Skip Wilhoit, coordinator of the Manatee County's Safe and Drug-Free Schools program. "They use psychedelic graphics. It looks like marijuana. Clearly, the manufacturers are targeting people who are interested in drugs.

    Authorities say they have not seen a rise in the use of K2, but the cases in Sarasota County were remarkably similar. At Sarasota High on Tuesday, a teenager fainted in the cafeteria and later admitted to smoking K2 in a cigar before coming to school.

    On Thursday afternoon, a student was involved in a confrontation at Riverview High and a school resource deputy found a plastic container with K2. The teenager admitted to smoking the substance, as well as taking half a Xanax and half a roxycodone painkiller before school.

    One of the student's parents, who asked that her name not be used, says that she did not know K2 existed and hoped school officials could keep it off campus.

    "Is there anything legislators can do to keep this stuff out of stores and away from kids?" she asked.

    Meanwhile, schools are asking parents to look out for signs their children are using the substance. Whether it is a sudden change in mood, new friends or a decline in grades, parents should be aware that the product is on the market and easily accessible.

    "Just talk to your kids," said Larry Leon, chief of the Sarasota School District's police agency. "Be involved, know what they're doing. Because this stuff is out there and it's tempting for kids to get into it."

    By Anthony Cormier
    December 11, 2009
    Herald Tribune

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  1. Birkill
    So what is this k2, obvisly sum sort of reaearch canabloid but which 1, jwh-018???
  2. rawbeer
    K2 is a blend of various herbs that no doubt have various synthetic cannibinoids added - SWIMs only experience with synthetics is w/ K2 so he couldn't really say which ones, but it's pretty short-lasting.
  3. savant idiot
    Unsurprisingly this sounds a lot like some kids smoked too much of it, and got a little too high, before their parents or teachers sent them to hospital... Then the hospital visit is used as "proof" that it's dangerous when there was no actual danger involved, only ignorant fear.

    Excuse the broken record, but there'd be far fewer "drug problems" if parents in general weren't so reliant on "news" to tell them what to think and "legislators" to tell them what to do. Swim for one wouldn't need to smoke nearly as much weed to sooth his rage, for a start.
  4. Eratosthenese
    SWIM has never seen any headshop that will allow anyone that is under the age of 18 in. I don't know where these kids bought a cannabinoid blend, but it certainly couldn't be anywhere SWIM has ever bought them.
  5. EXBarhead420
    first they say that its sending kids to the hospital then they say the high is minimal like smoking a tobacco cigarette. they need to make their mind up. where is sarasota county anyway
  6. Terrapinzflyer
    Its not 100% clear. Recent reports indicate possibly three distinct chemicals, but the quality of reporting in the article was poor so claims are suspect. (claimed two cannabanoids andd one "similiar to ecstasy" :s )

    Another story some weeks ago indicated it did contain one or more of the JWH compounds and interviewed Huffman about his creations being in it.

    Another story has identified it as JWH-018 only.

    A common problem with the legal highs industry- know one actually knows what product, or combination of products they are ingesting.
  7. Joker
    There are said to be 2 chemicals in K2, JWH-018 and JWH-073. Nobody knows if they use them both together in all the k2 blends, or if they use the stronger (JWH-018) in k2 Summit and the weaker (JWH-073) in the Standard/Citrone. The research I've done seems to point to them using the stronger JWH in the more potent K2 and the weaker in the less potent K2. The research I've done states that JWH-018 effects the same brain receptors as THC, but 5 times stronger than THC. This seems to make many's first k2 high almost uncomfortable due to the potency, which is why you hear about "my friend smoked it and couldn't get up off the couch". The 2nd time, and so on, it doesn't have the same effect. Research shows that although JWH-018 is 5 times more potent than THC, you build a tolerance to it very quickly. SWIM has been smoking K2 Summit for 3 months now, don't miss the real stuff one bit. SWIM has to pass UA's, so it's the perfect match for SWIM.
  8. Nil_Miscreant
    Lab tests have confirmed the presence of JWH-018 to the K2 Summit smoking blend. I can not speak to the assertion that JWJ-073 may be added to the "weaker" varieties.

    I wanted to comment on the variable effects that people seem to get from various smoking blends. Seeing as the tests that scientists have begun administering on these blends seem to be consistently verifying the presence of a few key synthetic cannabanoids I.E. JWH-018, CP 47,497 (and its homologues) and HU-210, not to mention the fact that these synthetics likely still work on the same cannabanoid receptors, I think it's plausible that perhaps it is the additional psychoactives present that can account for this variability. It is well know that many of the purported ingredients in these blends do indeed have psychoactivity, they do not however mimic well the specific effects of cannabis from what SWIM has heard. But I propose that, very much like cannabis it's self, it is the lesser constituents that really fill in the the high. Gives it it's personality.

    What do you guys think, is it possible?
  9. SullyGuy
    Phew, thats heavy stuff. Getting dizzy and disoriented, forgetting to use your words and getting caught by the principle, or maybe even fainting from hitting it wayyy to hard... I bet some of those kids were even minorly uncomfortable for a relatively short period of time. It must be banned!
  10. moda00
    I must point out, they totally ignore the fact that effects in the one case were more likely caused by the oxycodone and alprazolam mixed with each other and/or with the cannabinoids, they just focus on the K2 product as it is something novel they can use to scare people with and fuel the drug war fear and propoganda, and something the two incidents apparently had in common. Why is the media so ridiculous in their reporting? Why?

    I agree with a PP as well; the only such headshops one has ever seen are indeed very strict on ID, 18 and up only, at the door. Though one imagines that it wouldn't be hard for a 17 year old to ask an 18 year old to buy it and give them some for their trouble, just like with tobacco, or alcohol with a 21 year old *shrug* However, many high school seniors are indeed 18, so such things will still be around, and weed dealers surely do not card for minors- so at least one could argue this (K2 etc.) is something that is more restricted to adults than weed is in the current prohibition situation (though older kids will always buy for younger ones, be it herbals, cigs, booze, etc., it does seem to make it harder to get. Age limits don't seem prevent the younger individuals from obtaining things, although I do recall (iirc) a study that has borne out that high schoolers tend to state it is more difficult to get alcohol than it is to get marijuana, which makes sense to me.

    But if head shops are selling to underage high school kids, that will draw attention and cause problems. And if kids are smoking at or before school, well, that too is a problem (but swim surely cannot judge as she has made similar poor choices in her youth.. it's just, well, school is not a good place to do drugs, yk?)

    I agree with the interesting point made that a hospital visit is often used as proof of danger when that may not be relevant at all. For example, when discussing benzo "overdose" in another thread awhile back, I recall discussing the fact that one person may "OD" and take so much as to knock them out and sleep it off fine. If alone or with using friends, they may be perceived to have overdone it or just gotten tired and it is normalized. However if one was at school, or a parent found one like that, it would be considered a frightening and/or life-threatening situation and thus likely categorized as an "OD" and result in hospitalization.

    Of course, better safe than sorry in general, but as another example, swim had a situation with alcohol as a teen where she drank too much and had to make it home that night. She was dropped off and came in puking quite uncontrollably. She was definitely very drunk and ill, but she was nowhere near dying in her perspective. Her parents however, rushed her to the hospital, and "she almost died." As a parent, I may have done the same. But as swim told me, she felt it was quite unnecessary and embarrassing.

    Words are powerful, perceptions are powerful, and the initial label or reaction to a drug-related event or condition can make the difference between a simple unpleasant or strong drug experience and a "dangerous medical emergency." Especially when people don't know what they are dealing with, or are in a position where they are responsible and must err on the side of caution (i.e. teacher or principle, who would obviously be held accountable to their students' parents, and who has to keep order in the school, or police, who are liable if someone gets injured or dies in their care, a parent concerned for their child's health or life- perhaps not knowing for sure of other health conditions present and/or what substances were ingested, they may choose go to send to the hospital in a situation where an experienced user and friends might not perceive danger at all.

    Another example, Xyrem (pharma GHB) is used in doses of up to 4.5 g at a time to induce a high quality, restorative sleep in narcoleptic patients. A typical recreational dose is more like 1-1.5, mayyybe 2 g. 4.5 g would surely knock someone out-- but, pharmaceutically, that is the point. However, if someone used this dose recreationally and passed out- especially if it was not night, and they were not in their bed-- then it would be looked upon much differently, despite being perhaps same drug, same dose, same result.

    So, at a school, I can see how this was the reaction, and perhaps rightly so. But this does not by any means justify the label of "dangerous." I would be interested to hear reports as to what the hospital diagnosis and treatment was. That would show whether there was danger, and even then, if there was something medical, we couldn't prove causation, but it seems quite mild to me, and it also seems that pharmaceutical drugs played a bigger role in at least one case (the other student could also have taken other substances or had other health conditions; we may never know). But people fear the unknown, and this mysterious incense laced with novel chems is more sensational than just some pharms, and of course the pharmaceutical industry's interests would much rather have the blame pointed towards a headshop's herbal incense product being smoked, that the ingestion of legally produced pharmaceutical medications/drugs.
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