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Warning Signs of a Teen Abusing K2

How to Recognize the Signs of a Teen Abusing K2 to Get High


Updated July 27, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Quick Links: Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

K2, also known as Spice, is a mixture of dried plants laced with synthetic chemicals and sold as incense. Teens are smoking it to get high because its effects on the brain are similar to that of using marijuana. 

What are the effects of K2?

The specific effects of K2 on the body aren’t entirely clear as it hasn’t been well researched, and appears to contain some unknown substances. The specific effect K2 has on a teen’s body and mind depends on numerous factors. The following effects of smoking K2 have been reported:

  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Some reported cases of tremors or seizures
  • Some reports of hallucinations at high doses 

Warning Signs of Teens Abusing K2 

The following behaviors are often exhibited by teens who are using K2. Parents are advised to be alert to activities and items commonly associated with the abuse of this substance to include:

  • Burning incense
  • Buying or using eye drops
  • Having dried plants or herbs in their possession
  • Possessing a pipe or rolling papers
  • Suspicious packages arriving in the mail
  • Secretive behaviors

The most commonly reported physical effects from smoking K2 that parents should be aware of are:

  • Restlessness
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Pale complexion
  • Confused behavior

And while it may not necessarily be K2 your teen is using, these are all strong signs of possible drug abuse that should be taken seriously. Make sure your teen knows the potential dangers of smoking this substance. Confront your teen if you think they are getting high on K2, or any other substance, before the situation gets worse. 

Quick Links: Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

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