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Drug Abuse That Is Legal

There's a drug popular with teens in the U.S. that many parents may never have heard of, but worst of all - it is legal. This drug, called "Spice" or "K2" is said to give the user a marijuana-like high. Sold in shops and online as incense, it is being smoked as a legal alternative to marijuana. But this drug appears to have far more dangerous side-effects and without the necessary regulation, consumers have no idea what they're really getting.

Spice originally appeared on the scene in the late 1990s, but didn't really become popular until 2008. As the drug gained popularity in Europe, scientists began conducting research into the composition of this drug and any potential effects on the body. As a result of these investigations, many countries subsequently banned Spice including Germany, France, Chile, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, and the U.K. The United States currently has no such ban on the drug, likely due to the fact that it has only recently become popular in the U.S.

German researchers were able to determine that Spice contained a variety of synthetic cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds devised to produce marijuana-like effects. There was a high quantity of other synthetic chemicals found as well, indicating that a user really has no way of knowing what they are being exposed to. Worse yet, Spice appears to have many negative side effects that marijuana does not such as anxiety attacks, hallucinations, nausea, and a chemical dependency. Three teenagers in Roswell, GA were recently hospitalized after using Spice. One teen had a severe reaction to the drug, resulting in swelling of the brain.

Theoretically, children under the age of 18 cannot buy the drug, as head shops and online stores are not supposed to sell to minors. As this drug is still legal in some parts of the U.S., many people may be led to believe that it is a safe alternative to marijuana. This could not be further from the truth. Parents, teachers, and lawmakers need to be made aware that this drug is out there and that it has the potential to harm the lives of our children.

Synthetic Marijuana is illegal in Eureka County and many other counties in Nevada. The Nevada Legislature is currently working on legislation that will categorize synthetic marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

Sources:

Deutsche Welle: Germany Bans Cannabis-Like Drug

Times Online: 'Spice' Ban As Tests Show Legal Drug As Potent As Cannabis

Wikipedia Entry for "Spice"

Mind Hacks - Spice Flow: The New Pharmacology

My Fox Atlanta: Roswell Police Warn of Synthetic Pot

Creative Loafing: Spice Is A Helluva Drug