Recent laws banning synthetic cannabinoids have really put a cramp in the businesses of “incense” resellers. They aren’t wasting any time moving on to the next legal compound to get people high. Although Spice and K2 are marketed as incense with clear warning labels that the product is not meant for human consumption, no one is fooled and people are buying it and smoking it everywhere. The herb that the chemical compound is sprinkled on doesn’t matter and it doesn’t have the stink of marijuana so it is more difficult for police to detect. In addition each package may contain a different amount of a compound or even a different compound regardless of how it’s been labeled. Tests have been developed that can be used to determine if someone has been using Spice or K2, which is based on a formula called JWH-018 or other similar formulas, but it is not part of a standard drug test so medical personnel need to know what they are looking for and have access to the specific test.
Many states have banned a class of these synthetic cannabinoids that may include up to 7 different compounds. In the meantime people who sell the “incense” are busy looking for the next synthetic drug to market and sell. In their world, it’s just a matter of switching out and testing other chemicals so they can keep selling cheap drugs that aren’t yet illegal, but which may be incredibly dangerous. The number of emergency room visits through May of 2011 is over 2000 and on track to be double those of 2010. Hallucinations, rapid heart rate, agitation, vomiting and seizures caused by smoking incense in contrast to the calm, relaxation of a marijuana high show the dangers in smoking something unknown and untested. Some people will risk their lives for a quick high and this seems the perfect option for them. The next compound that is developed may be deadly until it is exposed and banned. Watch what you’re buying…you don’t know where it’s been!