What is K2/Spice?
K2 or “Spice” is a concoction of herbs and spices that are sprayed with a synthetic compound that mimics the effects of THC. They are originally marketed as herbal incense and are sold in head shops, tobacco shops, online and offline retail outlets, and at gas stations.
The synthetic cannabinoid chemicals that are typically found in K2 or “Spice” include the following:
- JWH-018 (1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole)
- JWH-073 (1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole)
- JWH-200 (1-[2-(4- morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole)
- HU-210; HU-211; CP-47,497 (5-(1,1- dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue (5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol)
What are the other names for K2/Spice?
K2/Spice comes in a variety of street names, such as K2, Spice, Pep Spice, Spice Silver, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Moon Rocks, Serenity Now, Fire & Ice, Blue Lotus, Synthetic Marijuana, Smoke, Skunk, Yucatan Fire, Genie & Zohai Orange Dragon Smoke, Black Mamba, Buzz, Voodoo, Chill X, Algerian Blend, Dragon’s Slice, Tropical Synergy, Spice 99, Mojo, Potpourri, Pulse, Hush, Earthquake, Blaze, Red X, and Dawn.
K2/Spice is practically easy to spot. These herbal blends come in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It is said to resemble potpourri.
What are synthetic cannabinoids?
Synthetic cannabinoids are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of THC – the principle active ingredients of cannabis. In 2008, Volker Auwarter, ScD, and colleagues in the forensic toxicology lab at the University Hospital Freiburg, Germany, found that the Spice herbal incense products contained at least two different designer drugs known as synthetic cannabinoids.
What are the classifications of synthetic cannabinoids?
Synthetic cannabinoids have been classified according to the chemical structures of the molecules, as suggested by Howlett et al. and Thakur et al. This classification has also been referred to in a report by the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which deals with the generic definition of synthetic cannabinoids.
1. Classical cannabinoids (THC, other constituents of cannabis; and their structurally related synthetic analogues e. g. HU-210, AM-906, AM-411, O-1184)
2. Nonclassical cannabinoids (cyclohexylphenols or 3-arylcyclohexanols such as CP-47,497-C8, CP-55,940, CP-55,244)
3. Hybrid cannabinoids (combinations of structural features of classical and non-classical cannabinoids, e. g. AM‐4030)
4. Aminoalkylindoles (AAIs), which can be further divided into naphtoylindoles (e. g. JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-398, JWH-015, JWH-122, JWH-210, JWH-081, JWH-200, WIN-55,212); phenylacetylindoles (e. g. JWH-250, JWH-251); naphthylmethylindoles and benzoylindoles (e. g. pravadoline, AM-694, RSC-4).
5. Eicosanoids (endocannabinoids such as anandamide, and their synthetic analogs e. g. methanandamide)
6. Others, diarylpyrazoles (selective CB1 antagonist Rimonabant®), naphtoylpyrroles (JWH‐307), naphthylmethylindenes or derivatives of naphthalene-1-yl-(4‐pentyloxynaphthalen-1-yl)methanone (CRA-13).
What is the legal status of synthetic cannabinoids in various countries?
In the United States, it was only on November 24, 2010 when the DEA notified the public through the Federal Register of their intent to temporarily control five synthetic cannabinoid chemicals found in so-called “fake pot” products such as K2 and Spice. At present, the control status of these compounds differs significantly from country to country.
The table below shows an overview on the legal status of synthetic cannabinoids in various countries based from the report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
|Country||Enforcement Date||Controlled substances / Remarks|
|Austria||January 2009October 2010||‘Spice’ products classified as medicinal preparationsCP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9, JWH‐018, HU‐210, JWH‐015, JWH‐019, JWH‐073, JWH‐081, JWH‐200, JWH‐250|
|Denmark||March 2010||CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9, JWH‐018, JWH‐073, HU‐210, JWH‐250,JWH‐398, JWH‐200|
|Estonia||July 2009||CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9, JWH‐018, JWH‐073, HU‐210|
|France||February 2009||JWH‐018, CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9, HU‐210|
|Germany||January 2009January 2010Planned for 2011||emergency regulation, JWH‐018, CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9permanent control and addition of JWH‐019, JWH‐073JWH‐015, JWH‐081, JWH‐200, JWH‐250, JWH‐122|
|Italy||June 2010||JWH‐018, JWH‐073|
|Japan||November 2009September 2010||controlled as ’designated substances‘ under the PharmaceuticalAffairs Law: CP‐47,497‐C7/C8, JWH‐018, HU‐210JWH‐073, JWH‐250|
|Lithuania||May 2009||CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9, JWH‐018, JWH‐073, HU‐210, JWH‐250,JWH‐398, JWH‐200|
|Russia||December 2009||CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9, HU‐210, JWH‐007, JWH‐018, JWH‐073,JWH‐081, JWH‐098, JWH‐122, JWH‐149, JWH‐166, JWH‐175, JWH‐176, JWH‐184, JWH‐185, JWH‐192, JWH‐193, JWH‐194, JWH‐195,JWH‐196, JWH‐197, JWH‐198, JWH‐199, JWH‐200|
|South Korea||July 2009||JWH‐018, HU‐210, CP‐47,497|
|Sweden||September 2009||CP‐47,497‐C6/ C7/C8/C9, JWH‐018, JWH‐073,HU‐210|
|Switzerland||May 2009December 2010||control of ‘Spice herbal mixes’ under food regulation (5 gramsallowed for personal use)JWH‐018, JWH‐019, JWH‐073, JWH‐250, CP‐47,497‐C6/C7/C8/C9|
|UnitedKingdom||December 2009||generic approach|
|USA||Not controlledunder federal law*November 2010||HU- 210 is scheduled as an analog of THCDEA announcement to emergency schedule JWH‐018, JWH‐073, CP‐47,497, CP‐47,497‐C8 and JWH‐200|