Not the kind of ‘Spice’ you want to add to your life…

The Behavioral Health Committee of Healthy Cleveland has been delving into the scope of the K2-Spice issue in our city. K2 is a dangerous drug also known as 'spice' or 'synthetic weed'. It's typically marketed as a ‘safe’ alternative to marijuana.

It's anything but safe.

What it ACTUALLY consists of is dried plant matter that is sprayed with man-made chemicals called synthetic cannabinoids. These chemicals are considered a ‘new psychoactive substance’ which alters a person’s mind and has other unsafe and scary side effects, such as seizures, violent episodes, and falling into a catatonic state.

People who make and sell these products sell them in bright colorful packages under a variety of 'brands' such as 'Black Mamba', 'Kush', and 'Kronic'; but there are hundreds of brand names. The packaging, the low price, and the high that is promised by this drug that is purposefully branded as being 'natural' makes it hard to resist for vulnerable groups such as youth and the homeless.

You can find K2 being sold in places like head shops, corner stores, and gas stations. While synthetic cannabinoids are illegal, the individuals who make them find new ways of changing the chemical composition to create new forms that are not yet illegal.

This makes it very difficult to remove them from the public. Cities like New York City have been working hard to stop the spread of this drug and reduce the number of people going to the emergency room as a result of overdosing on the drug. We are now starting to see increased rates of this drug's use and its detrimental side effects in Cleveland, although it is very hard to track and monitor.

We need to work together as residents, public service professionals, and healthcare providers to make sure we inform the public about the risks and harms associated with this drug. We are continuing to work with local EMS, service providers, and healthcare systems to monitor its prevalence in our city and identify a comprehensive approach to reducing access and injury resulting from this dangerous drug. Click here to learn more about synthetic marijuana and find resources for addressing this issue.

We are currently working on a public awareness campaign and are seeking individuals with talents in graphic design willing to donate a small portion of their time to help create a lasting message that will inform our public and empower them to choose health over high. If you are interested in donating your time and talents for this project, please email us at