There are a number of products available online and in specialist shops that claim to offer the user a legal way to get high. This type of promise is attractive to those individuals who want to enjoy drug-induced intoxication without having to break the law. It can also be appealing to young people who are looking for an easy way to get high. One of the products that claim to be able to do this is K4 synthetic weed. Another reason why people are attracted to K4 is that the individual can take this substance and it will not show up in drug tests.
K4 is sold as a type of incense and the manufacturers avoid liability by posting warnings that the substance is, not for human consumption. In reality many of those who buy this product do so because of its ability to get them high. This is because they are known to contain synthetic cannabinoids which are the psychoactive ingredient that is found in cannabis. It can therefore be categorized as a synthetic form of marijuana, and it produces similar effects to that drug. Unlike marijuana it has never been tested on humans and therefore anyone who uses this drug is taking a significant risk.
This product is sold under a number of different names including:
* Dead or alive
* Bad to the bone
* Dragon spice
K4 is currently legal in the United States and other parts of the world. It has gained popularity as a replacement for K2 (spice) which was banned in most states. It is likely that in the future there will be legislation to criminalize the use and supply of K4. There is increasing demand for this to happen as the dangers associated with this drug become known Earlier this year a story hit the media of a young man in Rhodesdale who became suicidal and out of control following K4 consumption. The problem is that once one product is banned the manufactures just switch to a new formula that has not yet been made illegal. It is therefore relatively easy for these people to stay one step ahead of the law.
The most common place for people to purchase products like K4 is in head shops. These are specialist shops that specialize in counter culture clothing, art, music, and drug paraphernalia such as bongs. These shops usually stay within the law, but they will tend to sell all those products that can currently be used to achieve a legal high. They will make much of their profits from selling items such as K4. It is also possible to purchase this product online and from other types of shop – even including some gas stations.
The fact that K4 has never been tested on humans means that anyone who takes it is putting themselves at unreasonable risk. The individual is even more at risk than they would be if they used regular marijuana – it can be four times as potent. The long term risks associated with K4 is unknown as the drug has not been around long enough to determine this. The dangers that are already associated with this drug include:
* Intense hallucinations and delirium
* Nausea and vomiting
* Low blood pressure
* Elevated heart rate that can reach dangerous levels.
* Suicidal thoughts
* Illogical thinking
* Feelings of anxiety and impending doom.
* Panic attacks
* Reduced coordination and motor skills. If people attempt to drive or use machinery after taking this drug it could put them in a life threatening situation.
* Reduced ability to make good decisions.
* Ingestion of unknown chemicals which may be harmful to long term health.
Another danger of products such as K4 is they can act as a gateway to harder drugs – particularly for young people. It is suggested that these softer drugs are like the first step into a life of addiction. The person begins to see the attraction of escaping from their problems by way of ingesting chemicals. They become attracted to stronger drugs because these promise an even better high. By using synthetic drugs the individual is crossing a line and the temptation will be to just keep on going.
K4 does not show up in drug tests but there does tend to be signs that the individual is using this drug that parents can look out for including:
* Strange smells around the house.
* Strange smells on the young person’s clothing.
* Secretive behavior.
* Strange behavior.
* They appear to be hallucinating or are saying things that do not make sense.
* The young person appears to be more withdrawn than in the past.
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