Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toxicologist warning to parents: Look for signs of K2 -- 'fake marijuana'

Date:
March 3, 2010
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
In the last month, a professor of toxicology at Saint Louis University has seen nearly 30 cases involving teenagers who were experiencing hallucinations, severe agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, vomiting and, in some cases, tremors and seizures. All of these teens had smoked a dangerous, yet legal substance known as K2 or "fake weed."

In the last month, Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology at Saint Louis University, has seen nearly 30 cases involving teenagers who were experiencing hallucinations, severe agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, vomiting and, in some cases, tremors and seizures. All of these teens had smoked a dangerous, yet legal substance known as K2 or "fake weed."

According to Scalzo, K2, an unregulated mixture of dried herbs, is growing in popularity because it is legal, purported to give a high similar to marijuana and believed to be natural and therefore safe.

"K2 may be a mixture of herbal and spice plant products, but it is sprayed with a potent psychotropic drug and likely contaminated with an unknown toxic substance that is causing many adverse effects. These toxic chemicals are neither natural nor safe," said Scalzo, who also directs the Missouri Regional Poison Control Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center.

What makes K2 so dangerous? Further testing is needed, but Scalzo says the symptoms, such as fast heart beat, dangerously elevated blood pressure, pale skin and vomiting suggest that K2 is affecting the cardiovascular system of users. It also is believed to affect the central nervous system, causing severe, potentially life-threatening hallucinations and, in some cases, seizures.

While JWH 018, a synthetic man-made drug, similar to cannabis, may be responsible for the hallucinations, Scalzo suspects that there is another unknown toxic chemical being sprayed on K2.

K2, also known as "spice," has been sold since 2006 as incense or potpourri. It sells for approximately $30 to $40 per three gram bag, which is comparable in cost to marijuana, and is available over the Internet.

"K2 use is not limited to the Midwest; reports of its use are cropping up all over the country. I think K2 is likely a bigger problem than we're aware of at this time," Scalzo said.

Legislators in Missouri currently are considering a proposed ban of K2, which Scalzo supports. In the meantime, he says that parents should be on the lookout for warning signs such as agitation, pale appearance, anxiety or confusion due to hallucinations.

"Look for dried herb residues lying around your kids' room. Chances are they are not using potpourri to make their rooms smell better or oregano to put on their pizza," Scalzo said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Toxicologist warning to parents: Look for signs of K2 -- 'fake marijuana'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303092405.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2010, March 3). Toxicologist warning to parents: Look for signs of K2 -- 'fake marijuana'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303092405.htm
Saint Louis University. "Toxicologist warning to parents: Look for signs of K2 -- 'fake marijuana'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303092405.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins