1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Warning to Parents: Teens Are Using Synthetic Marijuana to Get High

Get the Facts About Teens Abusing K2


K2 eens smoking synthetic marijuana

A teen smoking K2, synthetic marijuana.

Barbara Peacock/ Getty Images

Although the product K2 is labeled "not for human consumption" this does not appear to deter some teens from smoking it to get high.

What is K2?

K2 is a synthetic marijuana product that is increasing in popularity amongst troubled teens. It is composed of a dry mixture of spices, tobacco and plant products sprayed with synthetic compounds similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The effects on mood and mental functioning are comparable to the effects of marijuana, but may be even more potent.

Other names for this product include: fake pot, spice, genie, supernova and spirit.

K2 looks similar to marijuana and is ingested by teens in the same way, either inhaled from a pipe or rolled in special papers and smoked as a 'joint.' It looks like marijuana and comes packaged in foil envelopes labeled K2 or Spice.

Is K2 dangerous?

Yes. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has placed a temporary ban on the synthetic cannabinoids used in creating K2, saying this action was necessary to "avoid imminent hazard to public safety." This ban is in place for one year, during which time this product will be further studied and a decision made whether to continue to make the sale and possession of K2 illegal.

K2 continues to be sold online and is now being marketed as "100% DEA Ban Compliant." The production of K2 in Asia is unregulated there, meaning it is likely to be contaminated with unidentified ingredients. There is really no way to know how this product is being made in order to supposedly comply with the DEA ban.

Reports from teens who have experienced negative effects from using K2 suggests it may have adverse effects on the brain, heart, lungs and other vital organs. There is currently not a great deal known about the long-term effects of smoking K2.

K2 is one of many substances that some teens abuse in order to self-medicate and change how they are feeling. Not all teens who abuse K2 will experience adverse affects but these so-called herbal drugs are problematic and potentially dangerous to teens who choose to experiment with them.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.