I've decided, in the spirit of rational inquiry, to begin reviewing various street drugs for your information and entertainment. I will try new drugs as they become available and also look back at some of the old classics. I will only review drugs that I have done recently and I will only review drugs that I have found on the ground. I will present a short introduction and then rate the drug in various categories. Today I will review the so called marijuana substitute K2.
The first time I tried K2 was two years ago outside a library in Asheville NC. A guy came up to me and asked me if I wanted to smoke a joint with him, “But look it's not real weed. It's K2. It's kind of like weed but it gets you even more fucked up. I bought it at the head shop.”
“Fire it up.”
To say it got you even more fucked up was a bit of an understatement. It got you fucked up on a whole different order of magnitude. The psychedelic effects of weed are quite mild but this stuff had me convinced I was about to get nabbed by the cops right there in the library. I sat there pretending to read my book wondering how long I should stay on a page in order to avoid suspicion. In some ways K2 is more like the mountain than it is like marijuana in that it scares the shit out of you and makes you think you're about to die.
Recently, K2 has become very popular on the streets of Austin as it is quasi-legal and you can buy it at the store. I find the stuff all the time around the homeless shelter and, because it's so strong it freaks people out, you often find whole joints, or even bags of it, discarded in a drug fueled panic. I resist doing it as much as possible but sometimes weed is scarce and I have succumbed to the temptation. It's worth noting that the stuff I'm finding now is probably a different formula than the stuff I smoked in North Carolina as the laws surrounding the main ingredients are constantly changing. That not withstanding, the effects appear very similar.
Fear Factor—8: K2 is a frightening and disorienting drug because it comes on fast and strong. It's more similar to a psychedelic drug than it is to pot, at least until you develop a tolerance for it. The effect IS very similar to weed once the initial blast wears off, which takes about twenty to thirty minutes. Until then you can expect an experience not unlike a bad acid trip in which you dwell upon the most negative aspects of existence. I have been able to turn it around at times and have a more positive experience but only by persistent force of will. If you don't already know the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear I would not recommend smoking K2.
Flavor---2: K2 has a naturally bitter taste to it that they try to cover up with all kinds of artificial flavors, not unlike low quality cigars. It gets 2 points for variety but is no substitute for marijuana in this department.
Similarity To Marijuana---7: The important question is, “Is K2 really an acceptable substitute for pot?” and the answer is, “Yes, but only for the scariest pot you've ever smoked.” The truth is that if you are jonesing for weed and you smoke K2, you will no longer be jonesing for weed. K2 obviously stimulates some of the same receptors in your brain. The problem is that it over stimulated those receptors and, for me at least, gets me questioning why I smoke weed in the first place. Some might feel the fear that comes with K2 is too high a price to pay for the possible good effects, while others might say that you have to face some danger to be a true psychedelic warrior. At any rate there have been times when I was out of weed and glad to have it.
Value of Psychedelic Insights Obtained----8: So is K2 a valuable mental tool that will further you on the path to enlightenment or a superficial mind masturbator that will have you thinking your wall paper is a manifestation of the 7th level? I personally found the drug to induce a kind of forced honesty and objectivity that made me look at myself as I really am rather then as I want to see myself. True, it came with fear but sometimes we must face fear in order to discover the truth about ourselves. In some ways that is the heart of the psychedelic experience. However, it's important to know what you're getting. If you're looking for a gently breeze this isn't it.
Fun Factor---6: K2 could be kind of fun for people with lots of experience with it or other psychedelic drugs but it's hard to imaging kids hanging out and doing it recreationally on the weekends. It's helpful that they give it names like Atom Bomb and Concentrated Mind Charge. At least they're not trying to play it down. In general I would not consider K2 “fun”.
How do Juggalos React to it?---10: For some reason K2 makes Jaggalos sedate and calm just like giving Acid to a biker or meat to a tiger. They lounge about in a languid manner only moving with the shade as the sun makes it's way across the sky.
Overall I would say K2 is kind of an OK drug if you're ready for it and a potential trip to the emergency room if you're not. It is definitely not for the faint of heart and, despite some similarities, will never be a true substitute for good weed. If you are curious about trying this drug my advise would be to just take one hit and see how that effects you before taking any more. It can really creep up on you and a little goes a long way. If you're a veteran psychedelic warrior or a convicted felon on parole or an ice road trucker who has to get piss tested you might find it gives you some of what you want from pot but, if you have a choice, I'd say you're better off sticking with the original.