K2/Spice: An Unpredictable Danger

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K2/Spice: An Unpredictable Danger Infographic
Image by NIDA

It’s impossible to know what’s in the drug called “K2” or “Spice.” And that’s only one of the unpredictable things about it.

K2/Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid. It can be:

  • Sprayed on dried plant material and smoked.
  • Sold in liquid form and used with an e-cigarette or a vaporizer, or as a drink.

Check out the infographics below for the facts about K2/Spice.

Infographic 1

K2/Spice is not marijuana.

  • It’s often called “synthetic marijuana” or “fake weed” because some of its chemicals are like the chemicals in marijuana. But the effects of K2/Spice can be different and unpredictable; in some cases, they’re severe or even life-threatening.
  • Shredded, dried plant material + man-made chemicals do not equal a “natural” drug.
Infographic 2

You never know what you’re getting with K2/Spice.

  • In 2014, 177 different synthetic cannabinoids were reported by authorities. The amount and type of chemicals change from one batch to another.
  • When new laws make it illegal to use certain chemicals in K2/Spice, manufacturers of these drugs just change the chemicals they use.
Infographic 3

The health effects of K2/Spice are unpredictable.

  • These drugs act on many different receptors in the brain, including receptors that THC (found in marijuana) binds to. They produce unpredictable effects that can be dangerous.
  • They can cause nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, paranoia, hallucinations, violent behavior, and suicidal thoughts.
Infographic 4

Using K2/Spice can be harmful to your health.

  • In 2016, there were 2,695 calls to poison control centers about people who were harmed by using K2/Spice. (The Poison Control Hotline is 1-800-222-1222.)
  • About 28,531 ER visits were linked to synthetic cannabinoids in 2011. Thirty percent of these visits involved females; 70 percent involved males.
  • Seventy-eight percent of these ER visits were among adolescents and young adults, ages 12 to 29.

The only sure thing about K2/Spice is that it’s dangerous.

Learn more: the real facts about marijuana.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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