K2 Update

The DEA used its emergency powers to ban K2 and other "fake pot" products that mimic the effects of marijuana. The action by theDrug Enforcement Administration makes it illegal to possess or sell the five chemicals used to make the products for at least one year. The agency and the Department of Health and Human Services will determine whether the chemicals should be permanently added to the federal list of controlled substances considered unsafe, highly abused and without medical use.



Smokable herbal blends marketed as "legal highs" have become increasingly popular and as easy to buy as cigarettes. “K2”, “Genie” or “Mr. Smiley”, as they are more commonly known, are blends of exotic herbs and other plants that have been sprayed or coated with one or more chemicals that, when smoked, produce euphoria. Users report that smoking small amounts results in intense highs comparable to smoking large amounts of marijuana.

These products don't contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Instead, they contain synthetic chemicals that mimic THC by acting on the same receptors in the brain. They are most often labeled as herbal incense to mask their intended purpose, marketed to teens in bright colored packages. The Food and Drug Administration or FDA states that sale for human consumption is not approved. These products can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, loss of consciousness, agitation, nausea, paranoia, hallucinations and psychotic episodes. Studies in 2008 revealed that users developed chemical dependencies, withdrawal and addictive behaviors when using this substance.

Synthetic pot gives users legal high

CBS live news story

Additional Resources