“I could neither eat nor sleep. I shed 50 pounds in a span of two months; never in my life did I weigh less than 180, and I reached 150,” said 25-year-old Carlos Rodriguez (name changed) of Orange County.
“In a week, I felt dreadful and sick. I went into depression and couldn’t sleep. It was a nightmare to lead a zombie’s life,” said 17-year-old Jenifer Bradwell (name changed) of San Francisco.
“The headaches made me feel I was burning in a lake of fire. Full-blown seizures became a part of my life. I was struggling with suicidal thoughts and panic attacks,” said 15-year-old Jeff Blake (name changed) of Chicago, Illinois.
Though Carlos, Jenifer, and Jeff experienced different symptoms, all of them were addicted to one drug – K2 – commonly known as spice or synthetic marijuana. Containing a mixture of herbal incense, smokable plant material, and natural herbs coated with synthetic cannabinoids, experts say the production of K2 is unregulated, making two doses of the drug chemically different from each other. They say that the drug produces a constellation of dangerous side effects.
“It’s not really one drug,” said Daniel Ammons, an emergency room (ER) doctor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Pinnacle. Ammons explained that K2 was manufactured in a lab to produce the same mind-altering effects as marijuana on smoking or ingesting the drug. “People who have used K2 before might use it again and have completely different effects,” said ER doctor James Medina at the Lancaster General Hospital.
Expressing concern over the growing popularity of the drug, doctors worry that it goes undetected in standard urine tests. Moreover, being an addictive drug, chronic users get accustomed to the effects of synthetic cannabinoids, resulting in total dependence. Although the chances of a fatal overdose are comparatively less than drugs like heroin, ER doctors fear the unpredictable symptoms.
Fighting menace of addiction
K2 is a life-wrecking drug that made its way into the American drug scene in the mid 2000s, as potheads across the nation searched for newer ways to experience a powerful high. Being an easy-to-procure drug, K2 is often sold under brand names like Skunk, Moon rocks, or Potpourri. It is marketed as a safe and naturally occurring alternative to marijuana, making it popular among younger Americans.
Individuals addicted to K2 can exhibit several symptoms ranging from slowed or accelerated heartbeat to aggression and suicidal tendencies. ER physicians treat such patients by monitoring vital signs and symptoms and providing supportive care till they break free from the clutches of the drug. In the absence of any overdose reversal agent, treatment based on supportive care could last for a few minutes or may take hours. In addition to the psychosis induced by the drug, experts say adolescent K2 users are more likely to develop schizophrenia later in their adulthood. Nevertheless, seeking drug abuse help can go a long way in helping people with K2 addiction regain sobriety.
Sovereign Health of California understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful substances despite the negative impact on his or her life. Our customized K2 addiction treatment programs are designed to treat a person holistically. If you or your loved one is battling addiction to K2, call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our counselor to know about the most effective therapies at our state-of-the-art K2 addiction treatment centers.