FDA Issues Strong Warning about Poisoned K2 and Spice

Tablet with the words synthetic cannabinoids and spice in view.

As if drug misuse was not dangerous enough, there are some drugs sold at your local convenience store that now pose a public health risk. Synthetic marijuana, also known by the names Spice and K2, are copycat forms of cannabis that attempt to skirt federal regulations. A new FDA statement warns that some of these products could be laced with poison. 

What is Synthetic Marijuana?

Spice and K2 are essentially fake, or synthetic, versions of the marijuana plant that are packaged under various names and sold either online or in small independent stores. The drug is supposed to produce effects that are similar to marijuana, but this is debatable. 

The CDC has reported hundreds of overdoses related to K2 and Spice, and many deaths. Some people call this drug "legal weed," but it does not have FDA approval for sale. In fact, the FDA is now warning about some significant dangers linked to Spice and K2. 

FDA Warns About Poisoned K2 and Spice Products

On July 19, the FDA issued a warning about severe health risks linked to contaminated synthetic marijuana. Specifically, there have been reports of serious illnesses and deaths results from the use of these substances that have been laced with brodifacoum, otherwise known as rat poison. This is a substance intentionally put into the drug to enhance and prolong its effects. 

The FDA is not only concerned about the health and welfare of people who use these drugs, but also the public at large. Once a person uses a drug that contains rat poison, it enters the bloodstream, and the donation of blood products can contaminate the U.S. blood supply. The FDA has already received reports of people that have used synthetic cannabinoids who have also donated blood. 

The effects of brodifacoum are treatable but can be severe if not arrested. These effects include severe bleeding such as nosebleeds, oozing gums, and heavy bruising. People already taking certain medications or who have pre-existing conditions may be at higher risk for severe bleeding. 

Since there is no way of knowing which Spice and K2 products contain these chemicals, the FDA recommends not using them. They are not legal, but the companies that make them attempt to skirt regulations by labeling them "not for human consumption," or by slightly altering ingredients. Whether you see them in the store or not, they are considered extremely dangerous and can also lead to drug misuse.

Two people hugging in a group session setting.

Can You Get Addicted to Synthetic Marijuana?

The NIDA for Teens reports that Spice can be quite addictive. One sign of this is that a person will experience withdrawal symptoms after using the drug heavily and then stopping abruptly. 

Synthetic marijuana is dangerous for the reasons already mentioned as well as some others. Since the drug is unregulated, other poisons can also be added to it, which can cause illness or even death. Other long-term side effects of using this drug could include paranoia, depression, and anxiety. 

Getting K2 and Spice Addiction Treatment Help

If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with Spice or K2 addiction, you can seek professional treatment at The Orlando Recovery Center. Our Florida addiction treatment resources are extensive, which ensures that you will get the care and attention you need and deserve. 

Contact us now to speak with an addiction specialist who can answer any questions and discuss your admissions options confidentially.