Fake Pot Attracts Real Attention

Christine Whelan | Posted on 03/12/10

If a drug is legal in some states, but illegal in others, can a law-abiding citizen partake in the excitement? Studies have discussed consistent drug use as acts of hedonism—and vice—but what about recreational, occasional use?

This week, lawmakers in Kansas voted to ban K2.

If you think K2 is simply the second-highest mountain on earth, you're missing out on the latest chapter in the drug wars. Here's your primer:

K2, also known as "Spice," Genie" and "Zohai," is synthetic cannaboinoid (translation: it's fake pot.) It's legal in most states. Indeed, you can even buy it on Amazon.com. But since it popped up in the Heartland last summer, there's been increasing concern over its use and abuse. Missouri lawmakers are considering a similar ban.

The chemicals used in K2 - some blend of chemical compounds HU-210, JWH-018, JWH-073, BZP, and TFMPP are sprinkled on herbs or incense and can be smoked to "achieve a pot-like high"

So, of course, I logged on to Amazon.com and ordered some immediately. I admit that I'm not terrific at smoking - or at drug-use generally. I never learned to inhale, and at my age, it's just too embarrassing to start to learn. Plus, my Mom is one of the world's most vocal anti-smoking activists, my first full sentence was "Smoking is dangerous," and quite frankly, a good glass of wine will do me fine. But still, I'm a social scientist and an intrepid researcher, so I'm hoping a friend will come over and, in the famous words of Towelie, just "get a little high."

The side-effects are unclear. Inhaling any burning thing into your lungs isn't a great idea, but is this more dangerous than old-fashioned weed? Certainly it can't be worse than the 12-year-old kids whom CNN recently reports are inhaling spray paint and shoe polish to achieve their legal buzz. But in truth, no one really knows.

If a drug is legal in some states, but illegal in others, can a law-abiding citizen partake in the excitement? Studies have discussed consistent drug use as acts of hedonism -- and vice -- but what about recreational, occasional use? Oooh, I love grey areas.

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