How Synthetic Marijuana Stays on the Shelves Despite Health Concerns

It’s surprisingly easy to find, but that doesn’t mean you should take it.

By Alain StephensJune 22, 2015 9:44 am

Synthetic marijuana has been causing a lot of trouble in Austin lately. A recent spike in calls related to the drug has been taking a lot of time away from Austin-Travis County EMS. The drug, known as K2, has caused more than 260 people to be sent to the hospital over the past four weeks.

K2 is cheap and easy to find- take a trip down to your local gas station or head shop and you will see the drug being sold as ‘incense.’ Some symptoms of taking the drug include violent behavior, paranoia and seizures. However, K2 remains popular with teens and the homeless, due to its accessibility. The drug is legal in Texas until September.

Dr. Lavelle Hendricks, professor of psychology, counseling and special education at Texas A&M University-Commerce joins the Texas Standard to talk about the rise of K2’s popularity.

On the legality of K2 in Texas:

“It is totally illegal to possess, consume, distribute or sell K2 in the state of Texas. It is also illegal to sell, deliver, consume or produce this product throughout the nation.”

On the dangers of using K2:

“Many individuals think by using K2 that it’s a safer alternative to regular marijuana or the THC ingredient that’s found in there, but let me assure you there is absolutely nothing safe about using K2.”

On whether K2 sales have anything to do with the prohibition of marijuana:

“I’ll agree with you in the sense that because marijuana is illegal and they are thinking that K2 is legal, but again I can’t stress the importance that even though they might see it being safer or available, there is absolutely nothing safe about this product.”