Extra! Korea

February 18, 2010

A marijuana-like drug that’s “Produced in Korea”

Filed under: crime, health — extrakorea @ 8:30 am

There’s a new drug on the market that imitates the effects of marijuana, and is, at least for now, legal in the United States (but –get this– is banned in most of Europe. I’m not sure about Canada, but given that we’re all a bunch of potheads …).

The users are buying a product known as K2 — or “Spice,” Genie” and “Zohai” — that is commonly sold in head shops as incense. Produced in China and Korea, the mixture of herbs and spices is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Users roll it up in joints or inhale it from pipes, just like the real thing.

(emphasis mine)

“Made in Korea”? Which one? South Korea has strict drug laws (which many expatriate teachers find out the hard way). North Korea has a history of producing and trafficking illegal drugs to try to prop up its basket case of an economy. So, I’m guessing it’s the North.

The key ingredients are believed to be the unintended result of scientific research on marijuana’s effects.

Dr. John Huffman, a Clemson University organic chemistry professor, was researching the effects of cannabinoids on the brain when his work resulted in a 1995 paper that contained the method and ingredients used to make the compound. That recipe found its way to marijuana users, who replicated Huffman’s work and began spraying it onto dried flowers, herbs and tobacco.

“People who use it are idiots,” said Huffman, referring to K2 smokers.

[ snip ]

There is no data on the drug’s toxicity or how long it stays in the body. In mice, it can lead to a lower body temperature, partial paralysis and the temporary inability to feel pain, according to the DEA.


  1. Huffman. Heh heh heh

    K2 is old news, though. I’m sure I read this last year or two years ago or something.

    Comment by kushibo — February 18, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    • Yup, I think you’re right on that one Kushibo

      Comment by JohnT — February 20, 2010 @ 12:25 am

  2. Yeah this Spice stuff was actually made illegal in Korea this past July. It works alright, but is way more of a body high than the actual thing…I hear.

    Here is the wikipedia entry breaking down the actual compounds and showing what countries have it as illegal.


    Comment by Gumi_teacher — February 18, 2010 @ 9:55 am

  3. If the real thing was legal and regulated, we wouldn’t be having this issue.

    Comment by K2 Summit — April 1, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  4. They should make it illegal for mice to smoke K2.

    Comment by Steven — September 20, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

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