Missouri Bans K2, Synthetic Marijuana Substance

Big buzzkill heading the way of synthetic marijuana consumers in Missouri, where lawmakers have voted to ban the substance known as K2, a blend of herbs treated with synthetic marijuana.

The New York Times reports on the prohibition, signed on Tuesday by Gov. Jay Nixon, which makes it illegal for consumers to possess K2. Missouri is the eight state to do this year, after a slew of health problems and emergency room visits have been attributed to the drug. Six more states have pending legislation on the matter.

Those against K2 cite instances of elevated heart rates, paranoia, vomiting and hallucinations and in one case, death.

“It’s like a tidal wave,” said Ward Franz, the state representative who sponsored Missouri’s legislation. “It’s almost an epidemic. We’re seeing middle-school kids walking into stores and buying it.”

The drug — sometimes known as Spice, Demon or Genie —– is sold openly in gas stations, head shops and, of course, online. It’s readily available from the gas station to the Internet and can sell for as much as $40 per gram. The active ingredients are synthetic cannabinoids that have been said to give the consumer a THC-like experience.

It’s tough for medical experts and lawmakers to get a handle on the drug, since so many iterations of it are out there and seem to be continually popping up, and not so much is really known about its effects across the board. As the NYT puts it, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that so far this year there have been 567 K2-related calls, up quite a bit from 13 in 2009.

So not cool, bro.
Synthetic Marijuans Spurs State Bans [New York Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. smo0 says:

    It was only a matter of time. The idea of this stuff seemed sketchy when I first heard of it…..

  2. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    ““It’s like a tidal wave,” said Ward Franz, the state representative who sponsored Missouri’s legislation. “It’s almost an epidemic. We’re seeing middle-school kids walking into stores and buying it.””

    Translation: there’s a reasonable chance that a middle-school kid could get his hands on it. Also, we have a sneaking suspicion that people like it. And we just won’t stand for that.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      “It’s almost an epidemic. We’re seeing middle-school kids walking into stores and buying it.”

      Yes, when a completely unregulated drug exists, and there’s a chance a middle-school child could purchase it, the appropriate response isn’t to regulate it, but to just ban it outright without thinking…

  3. tsumeone says:

    An acquaintance of mine had a severe panic attack after smoking some “Spice” which is similar/the same thing as K2. It’s nothing like pot at all and it is not safe like smoking pot even though pot is illegal and this is not. K2 / Spice should be banned.

  4. mcnerd85 says:

    Or we could just legalize the real thing, solve all our problems. I am not some permafried pot head, but seriously? I have known quite a few of them, the only thing marijuana leads to is the refrigerator.

    • Hardwired says:

      Agreed. Now please stop making sense and go back to being a weirdo like 90% of the population of the world. ;)

      • mcnerd85 says:

        Sorry I took so long to reply, I was busy yelling about 12/21/2012 on the street corner. -begins yelling and throwing cats a la

  5. t-spoon says:

    A drug called Spice makes me feel like I’m in the future. Keep it, I say.

  6. Poisson Process says:

    Yea, ban it, that totally worked for prostitution, alcohol and cocaine.

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    What they fail to mention is Gov. Nixon’s middle name: Harkonnen.

    He who controls the Spice, controls the universe!

  8. flipnut says:

    yet another reason to make drugs legal, the fake versions are worse than the real thing

  9. zt says:

    This is a synthetic analog of the natural substance. Even the most minor changes to a drug’s chemical structure can have huge changes on its effect and safety profile. Legal drugs have undergone hundreds of millions of dollars of clinical safety testing (and even then, rare huge devastating problems can slip through). This drug has not undergone any of that testing. Why would anybody, in their right mind or out of it, actually want to use this substance?

    • sn1per420 says:

      Because it produces similar effects to smoking cannabis, but doesn’t show up on drug tests and is completely legal.

      We could avoid all these problems if they’d just legalize and regulate the real thing.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        Yeah, like they do with alcohol and tobacco, right. And we know that those are completely harmless substances which cause no problems whatsoever!

        • Megalomania says:

          what they don’t cause is billions of spending at local, state, and federal levels of government, in addition to providing routes into the country used for other illicit trafficking, and sending money out to countries where it’s used to fund terrorism, often domestic, but at times international. That was the problem with prohibition – people still were drinking but there had to be a whole criminal network in order to make it happen. Not worth it.

        • smo0 says:

          No recorded deaths by Marijuana… so.. despite your obvious sarcasm I’ll say “NO of course they haven’t.”

          LEGALIZE IT!

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            So, no one died because of marijuana (which, statistically is impossible – it has to be responsible for at least a handful of deaths, at the very least indirectly), so therefore it should be legal?

            That’s not a compelling argument. In fact, one could argue that because it is illegal it has prevented many more recorded deaths, since the vast majority of people are less apt to do something that carries with it a prison sentence / fines / etc. If it is legalized, the number of people who use it will increase, thereby also increasing the chance of injury or death.

            • tsumeone says:

              I wonder how many people have died as a result of going through shady dealers to purchase pot since it’s illegal. I’m willing to bet that it is a lot more than pot could be considered indirectly related to.

              Hell, the entire mexican drug war is a result of pot being illegal.

            • Vivienne says:

              I don’t need a compelling reason to make something legal in this country. Basic human dignity and liberty are compelling enough. YOU DO however need a compelling reason to make something illegal. And frankly, your irrational fear is not compelling.

              It’s like you people slept through high school civics or something. … Oh.

              • pantheonoutcast says:

                “Basic human dignity and liberty are compelling enough.”

                You equate marijuana with human dignity and liberty? Pathetic and sad. Sitting around high as a kite is the direct opposite of being dignified, and relying on chemicals (whether natural or synthetic) in order to deal with the anxieties and stressors of life is tantamount to a lifetime of servitude.

                I really wish the druggies, stoners and junkies would take their special brand of enthusiasm and redirect it towards some actual worthwhile cause, rather than endorsing a recreational, escapist, pseudo-coping substance which offers no benefit to 99.99% of society (I’ll withhold judgment on its possible medical use until the AMA confirms or denies it).

                • OmnipotentMLE says:

                  people have used mind altering substances since some cavemen found berries that made them feel funny in a good way.

                  So you don’t like marijuana? Don’t smoke it, don’t hang out with people who smoke it. Its like if you’re not a drinker you can avoid bars and alcoholics and if you hate the smell of tobacco, you wouldn’t go near a cigar bar. There have been studies showing marijuana is nowhere near as detrimental to your health as regular heavy drinking and it does not contain the addictive properties of tobacco. So why not treat it as a legal vice (like cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, etc) and tax it. It would also make these alternatives seem less appealing- although I can imagine these middle schoolers they are complaining about are the same ones who do whip-its and drink cough syrup.

            • Randell says:

              Indirectly people have died from everything int he world. The job of the person trying to ban something should be its direct effects, NOT what potentially could be its indirect maybes. Based on your stupid argument, seat belts should not be in cars because they actually have led to actual deaths of some people. They end up in water and drowned. Not from the seat belt, but from the indirect issue of the car being in 12 feet of water.
              By the way, marijuana was used LONG ago and has not been illegal for that long, so your argument that the illegality keeps the statistic at zero is just plain wrong. How do you explain the years prior to illeegality.

            • DorsalRootGanglion says:

              AMA studies on pot’s efficacy are hard to conduct since, among other things, the government restricts research and uses a substance that is deficient in the main ingredient. It’s like testing a brand of tire for safety by using 3 cars at 10 miles an hour. It’s ridiculously difficult to do testing on the uses of illegal drugs, even when some drugs (such as THC or even MDMA) have shown promise in treating illness. Please, though, blame the scientists for this. It makes you look so clever.

              Also, in countries where it is legal, there have been few deaths that can be vaguely traced to marijuana. Those that have been traced to marijuana are related to injecting hashish, which isn’t the preferred mode of administration for most in the US. Go and spend a few minutes perusing pubmed and get some education.

              By all means, argue that the other countries in which pot is legal are somehow less sensitive to the effects or covering up drug use statistics. I’ll stick with facts, thanks. The fact is that the drug isn’t nearly as dangerous as the legal drugs (nicotine and ethanol) we have now. If the main reason against legalizing it is safety, why aren’t the other two illegal as well?

              And to accuse druggies and stoners of wasting time while you merrily troll these forums is remarkable, but typical, hypocrisy for you, m’dear. At least they are trying to get something done in the legislature. You’re just burning time.

            • mattarse says:

              Not true – In Holland where MJ is decriminalized there is a smaller percentage of people who smoke than in the US – and no deaths attributed to it. Drug use in Portugal has also gone down since decriminalization of virtually everything about 10 years ago.

            • womynist says:

              I thought I read in “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” that in order to overdose on marijuana, a single person would have to consume something like 40 punds of weed in a 24 hour period. That’s COMPLETELY impossible.

        • Randell says:

          Actually, the one MAJOR difference, there is no addictive properties in THC, AND there has never in the recorded history of man, been a documented overdose associated with it. That is a pretty good batting average. Better than aspirin, better than alcohol, better than tobacco, better than caffeine. Keeping alocoho out of the hands of minors is much easier than keeping pot out of their hands.

          • BearJazz says:

            I hate to nitpick about this, but this is a pretty significant point: THC is not physiologically addicting, but it is psychologically addicting. Psychological addiction is the harder addiction to get rid of. It’s why a lot of people who try to stop smoking end up smoking again 6 months later. That being said, I’m 110% in favor of complete legalization.

            • c!tizen says:

              I would beg to differ that boredom is the reason they smoke 6 months later. I think the bottom line here is that some people can handle it and some people can’t. The medical benefits are undeniable (giving aids and cancer patients an appetite, helping ease chronic (no pun intended) pain), and the economical benefits (if it were legalized, regulated, and produced locally) would be huge (job creation, shipping, tax). Not to mention all the money the government would “save” not spending billions to fight “the war on drugs” (at least the pot side of it) and the cases it would free up in our already overtaxed joke of a legal system.

              I also hate that it constantly gets compared to alcohol and tobacco when it’s more in line with sweets and junk food. It’s not going to kill you, you will NEVER OD from smoking too much pot, not gonna happen, but you can indeed drink yourself to death which is why I don’t like the comparison. The worst that’s gonna happen is you’ll wake up in mountain of crushed chips and peanut butter wondering why the hell the dog is licking the carpet and wondering if your roommate skimmed your bag.

              The bottom, and somewhat ironic, line is that you need to do it responsibly, just like anything else in life. Be it eating, exercising, drinking, riding a bike, driving a car, anything… do it responsibly and you’ll be alright.

      • Snoofin says:

        Or people could stop insisting that they need to take something to alter their consciousness. Why cant people just live normal without the need for drugs or alcohol or tobacco or fake drugs. Its ridiculous. All they are doing is throwing money away. They burn it or drink it. Might as well burn the real money.

        • DorsalRootGanglion says:

          I assume you also live on a thin gruel that has the required number of calories and vitamins needed per day, and nothing else, right? Most food is eaten for taste and pleasure as well as for nourishment. I don’t mean things like chocolate or soda. I mean eating, say, ripe fruit instead of a bland item with similar calories.

          By all means preach your straight-edge stuff. You should then turn around and look at what you do for pleasure. I assure you, it’s hardly noble.

        • shepd says:

          I find most people with that opinion are religious. Did you know religion also gives you an unreal high? If you feel that way, you must also ban religion. In fact, lets just go all the way and get the movie “Equilibrium” into real life.


          If you’re not religious, I think you’ll find it difficult to support your position without using worthless arguments like “I don’t like it so nobody should”, but maybe not. Explain away…

          • Snoofin says:

            Im not overly religious and never heard of anyone getting a high from religion but if they do then perhaps they should refrain as well. Im not saying they should ban these things, Im just wondering why people cant just be happy being sober, life really isnt that boring. Im sorry but food isnt cose to being the same thing. I can eat a pizza or 20 rice cakes. If I choose the pizza because it tastes better then its just a choice. Pizza doesnt alter my consciousness and cause me to do things I wouldnt normally do or kill someone else with my car because my reaction times are off or Im loopy.

            • c!tizen says:

              “Pizza doesnt alter my consciousness and cause me to do things I wouldnt normally do or kill someone else with my car because my reaction times are off or Im loopy.”

              Give this a little read… http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990325110700.htm

              I don’t understand your need to live life completely sober, so I guess in a sense we can just agree to understand each other by not understanding how we choose to live.

    • 8pozzum says:

      The active ingredient in Spice is not an analog of THC. Analogs of THC are illegal under federal law. The active ingredient is most likely JWH-018, which activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors much like THC.

  10. smo0 says:

    The Spice Must Flow.

  11. RenegadePlatypus says:

    What’s not mentioned here is that the synthetic cannabanoid coumpound that’s added to the herbage to create the herbal blend ‘Spice’ or ‘K2’ is available for sale in its raw form on the internet from lab chemical suppliers, completely legal. It’s JWH-018, but there are other JWH variations constantly popping up. The stuff is dissolved in a liquid similar to acetone and sprayed onto the herbal blend. People can really get sick if they order the JWH online and smoke the raw powder because a safe dose is about 4-8 milligrams, … remember, a milligram is a gram divided into 1000 equal parts, a safe dose of the powder is about the size of a 1/4 of a ladybug.

    • Joey_Brill says:

      Your lady bug gets a lot bigger in a hurry. My tolerance grew at a geometric rate compared to weed. I’m too old for ‘wake and bake’.

      I thought I’d found a legal work-around, but this isn’t it for me.

  12. 8pozzum says:

    I like how this “tidal wave” is composed of 567 calls to the PCC. Oh yeah, and one death. If you do a little research into the death, it turns out to be little more than coincidence that the guy was smoking this stuff when he died. Thank god he wasn’t eating pizza, or Missouri would be outlawing that.

    The best way to get rid of Spice is to legalize the real stuff.

  13. dark_inchworm says:

    I don’t mean to flaunt my habits, but believe me, the real thing is much better.

  14. zjgz says:

    I tried this before. Its a lot more potent than the real stuff, so you have to do like half of what it would normally be. Panic attacks and stuff happen because people misjudge it and have too much, thats what happened to me. But I highly doubt the death had little to do directly with the drug. All the bad effects of it are just like the bad effects of having too much of the real stuff. I don’t think it needs to be made illegal

    • dethl says:

      “just like the bad effects of having too much of the real stuff”

      It’s literally impossible to smoke too much of the real stuff – you will pass out long before you hit the LD50 level. You couldn’t even eat enough weed to hit the LD50 level – hell, there’s never been a documented report of an overdose on THC.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        “having too much” and “LD50” are very different concepts. I can “have to much” beer and have a really bad hangover the next day, or I can eat too much pizza and feel sick to my stomach. Having too much of something doesn’t mean that it’s anywhere NEAR a lethal dose.

      • Megalomania says:

        LD50 is a measure of lethality alone and is not a meaningful way to discuss safety for several reasons, including that there can be other serious side effects that might affect 100% of people before you reach the median lethal dose. One way or another I would not classify marijuana as a threat to anything other than people’s productivity, but unless you are trying to kill people, the LD50 is really not the right thing to worry about. An LD50 for methanol, for example, would not take into account that methanol can blind with much smaller than fatal doses.

  15. Hardwired says:

    Who smokes weed anymore when you can just get oxycodone and xanax from your doctor legally? It’s MUCH easier on the lungs. I just don’t get it? *shurgs*

    • Megalomania says:

      Completely different “highs”; different counter-indications; a paper trail; a higher likelihood of dependency (for the opiates at least); it’s much more possible to overdose on opiates than marijuana, and there are surely more I can’t think of.

      Oh, and oxycodone, hydrocodone, and the other opioid drugs all have a laundry list of potential side effects. Not to say that marijuana doesn’t, but with no studies done it’s hard to actually get a handle on that.

      Never used opiates or marijuana myself; I just object to my taxes being spent on every level to fight “the war on drugs”, where the only winners are the lawyers and the criminals mass producing the narcotics. It’s like living under prohibition – virtually everyone has used some sort of illegal drug, to the point where no one believes you if you say you haven’t, and yet everyone pretends to be abhorrent whenever someone is caught.

      • gethenian says:

        Yeah, I agree with all of this. I’ll also add that, like opiates, benzodiazepines like Xanax also have a greater potential for dependence and overdose than marijuana does. And I’m not sure how you go about getting a prescription for these if there’s no reason for you to need them. Maybe it’s easier than I think, though?

        Having used both marijuana and Xanax in the past (though I don’t use either anymore), I’d say they’re not really interchangeable. In particular, Xanax generally just makes me really tired, which isn’t much fun. YMMV and all, but yeah. They’re not the same at all.

  16. citking says:

    I’ve had both K2 and Spice before. The only reason I get it is because pot is a little difficult to find here; otherwise I’d be getting that instead.

    The K2 experience takes a bit of getting used to. The highs, while more intense, wear off faster than a marijuana high. While marijuana is a slow upward, long plateau, and fairly slow level-off, K2 is more like a quick high, plateau for about 30 minutes, then down again pretty quick.

    There’s nothing terribly wrong with K2 or Spice but I’d much rather smoke (vaporize actually) the real stuff than drink a 6 pack of beer and feel like shit the next day (while slowly killing my liver I may add).

  17. dg says:

    OK, so just let them smoke real pot then. No chance of death – the LD50 on pot is so high, that there’s no way you could smoke enough of it or eat enough of it… no one has ever OD’d on it.

    The paranoia and other crap that people experience on pot is due to the fact that the Government is out to get pot smokers because they’re not bothering anyone and happen to enjoy some icecream, pizza, and a slurpee while stoned through the bone….

    It’s time for the unmitigated failure known as the War on Drugs to come to an end…

  18. f0nd004u says:

    $40 / gram? Thats almost crack prices! You can get 3-4 grams of great pot for that much, and it won’t send you to the hospital.

    • sunniapocalypse says:

      I can buy the good K2 for $20 a gram, but that stuff is insane. INSANE. The regular k2 is 3 grams for 30 bucks. Ill stick with that.

  19. JoeS says:

    If this is banned, will those middle-school kids go back to “safer” practices, like inhaling aerosol sprays? People need protection from dangerous products and substances, but state and national drug policies need a dispassionate review to determine what is rational. Truly dangerous substances should be restricted or banned, but acting precipitously in a climate of hysteria only discredits drug policy and policymakers. Even if they are illegal, if people want drugs they will get them. We should treat this as a medical problem, rather than a criminal one.

  20. Ben says:

    C’mon, just make the real stuff legal already! You know it’s going to happen, so just do it!

  21. pot_roast says:

    Other places are treating it like alcohol (sales restricted to those legally allowed to purchase alcohol), which is what the pro-pot people say they want.

  22. sunniapocalypse says:

    It’s actually not banned until August. A lot of the local shops here in Kansas City have done renovations to their stores because of the revenue from K2. To them, this is sort of their main source of income. I dont go to Coffee Wonk for their coffee.

    I’m a regular k2 user and to me it’s kind of worth it. I dont like to stay high for long and I dont smoke all too often (once every couple days). I prefer it over actual weed. I’m functional, have a great job, and just like to melt in to the couch every once in awhile. My boyfriend works a job where if he gets hurt he gets drug tested immediately and his pot use has nothing to do with his job performance. K2 fits perfectly in to our lifestyle. And however bad it is for you there are much worse things you can do. I’ve never been sick from it and I only buy from reputable places.

    I think a lot of the problem is that in its increased popularity people have started making their own brands at home and using different chemicals to make it.

  23. Ashley584 says:

    It’s nerve-wracking how some people are so ban happy. It should be crystal clear by now that prohibition just doesn’t work. We have far more important problems to address yet they want to chase down this K2 smoke stuff. Ridiculous. Oh, and FDA regulation doesn’t mean much to me as they are constantly approving toxins for human consumption. Go research some of the ingredients in your extremely processed “food”.

  24. Ashley584 says:

    It’s nerve-wracking how some people are so ban happy. It should be crystal clear by now that prohibition just doesn’t work. We have far more important problems to address yet they want to chase down this K2 smoke stuff. Ridiculous. Oh, and FDA regulation doesn’t mean much to me as they are constantly approving toxins for human consumption. Go research some of the ingredients in your extremely processed “food”.

  25. Ashley584 says:

    Our penal system needs a major overhaul as it is and these petty drug laws aren’t helping matters. The authorities will never be able to keep up with k2 incense and the like as it is ever-changing. Loads of places have k2 herb products that aren’t forbidden under any current bans. It is bonkers the money and effort they are putting into these bans when apparently people can still legally buy k2 smoke if they want to!