Stories about: synthetic marijuana

'Fake drugs' pose real threats

A host of marijuana like substances are legal and widely available in the US
A host of marijuana like substances are legal and widely available in the US

K2. Spice. Zohai. Genie. Have you heard your kids using any of these words lately? If so, they may be smoking a legal, herbal “incense,” commonly misused as a marijuana substitute.

When inhaled, the products produce a similar experience to smoking marijuana and are available at tobacco and head shops for roughly the same price as their street drug equivalent. But unlike pot, these “herbal supplements” are currently legal in 45 states and are untraceable by tests designed to detect cannabis, making their use easy to conceal.

“The main problem with K2, which is similar to problems we saw in the 1980s with designer drugs, is people have been able to alter the molecules of illegal drugs just enough to create a substance that replicates the effects of the drugs, without breaking the law,” says Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Program. “But legal or not, they’re still psychoactive substances and carry a lot of the same risks.”

Read Full Story