What’s this K-2 Stuff? Monkey Weed?

By Lionel Roy

'Spice' -- a designer synthetic cannabinoid.

‘Spice’ — a designer synthetic cannabinoid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s this K-2 stuff? I wondered when I first heard about it a few years ago, in Vermont. They were selling it in smoke-shops, and even in convenience stores around the state, and it was controversial. People were smoking it because it was reported to give the smokers a buzz, like weed. It’s called “fake weed.” At this time marijuana wasn’t even decriminalized in Vermont, and no one seemed open to selling any sort of a substitute to the drug.

“You don’t want any of this shit” said the young Hispanic guy I had just lent my phone to so he could call someone he was waiting for about something in front of a convenience store in Providence, Rhode Island.

“Yes I do” I contradicted as I continued to reach toward the blunt he and a couple thirtyish, white guys were passing around.

“That’s monkey weed” he explained. “You don’t want none of that.” He insisted.

Monkey weed finished 2014-03-02_2321

Monkey weed? I thought to myself. I’ve never heard that term. “I’m not fussy.” I answered, still adamant that I wanted a couple rips off what they were passing around, even if they thought it was below a forty-six year old guy, wearing a tie and black dress shoes, to smoke this supposed inferior weed, they called “monkey weed” instead the more familiar term “schwag.”

“Alright” he conceded, as he gestured his friend to hand it to me, finally caving in, but giving me fair warning one last time as he explained “that’s not weed. It’s K-2”

“Ohhh.” I said, remembering back to Vermont and hearing about it for the first time. I remembered that I wanted to try it then, but quickly forgot all about it. I took a rip, and then another –Because the rule, as established by my younger fellow members of Generation X, is two rips on a blunt before you pass it. It was light, and tasted spicy, like coriander. This stuff is also known as “Spice.”

He said “Wait and watch now” after I blew out my second rip. Then he counted slow, to seven, and then high-fived my chest, at the same time saying, “there! It hit ya?”

“Yeah!” I answered. I felt a buzz, I thought maybe from the tobacco, because I never smoke that very dangerous substance, unless it’s sprinkled in a spliff, or wrapping a blunt, and it does give me kind of an immediate, speedy buzz when, in those circumstances, I do. But I felt a little airy too, and didn’t feel that cheek tightening, nauseous, green effect that tobacco has on me. I liked it.

dopey small 2014-02-01_1718

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I grabbed it one more time, which convinced them all I wasn’t a cop, even though I was dressed nicer than one, because I had just finished up my late night job hunting. Their associate showed up, and they left with him. I walked the city streets with my dog for a couple hours, energized and in a really good mood, and gave out some ones and fives to the homeless and the crack-heads I met, and smoked a little more from the tiny bag of it I bought from them for ten bucks.

Now, two days later, I figured I write this blog post, while I do a little online research.

A Google search for “K-2 monkey weed” returned the following results:

The top result was an article by Huffington Post. This article didn’t really explain anything. It said that there is a lab developed synthetic cannabinoid, that is sprayed on plant matter. It didn’t say what the plant matter is, or if it’s sprayed on the plant while it’s growing, or after it’s been harvested. It talked about it being much more dangerous than natural marijuana. It also mentioned the same bad side effects, e.g.; seizures, hallucinations, increased heart rate –that my new friend mentioned, when he warned me not to take any more than a few whacks on the blunt.

Wikipedia confirmed that the plant matter is a mix of many different types, that they gave all the scientific names for, that at this time, I don’t feel like cross referencing, for two reasons; first: Because it isn’t consistent. Even the packages will claim certain plant matter that tests have shown are not actually present. Second: The chemicals are sprayed on after, so the plant matter being smoked has nothing to do with the buzz.

English: Structure of cannabicyclohexanol

English: Structure of cannabicyclohexanol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What has to do with the buzz? According to Wikipedia, it’s called: Cannabicyclohexanol (CCH, CP 47,497 dimethyloctyl homologue, (C8)-CP 47,497). This is a cannabinoid receptor agonist drug, developed by Pfizer in 1979. It turns out that the drug was developed with a government grant, by a chemist named John W. Huffman. This scientist is often credited with creating synthetic marijuana on a federal drug grant to study the effects of drugs on receptors in the brain of lab animals. He has strongly recommended that people do not ingest the compounds he invented.

“These things are dangerous — anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette,” Huffman said to the Los Angeles Times in 2011. He added in another article I read, “Anyone who ingests this stuff is an idiot.”

Guess he told me…Now that I have educated myself through personal experience and Internet research, I think that I agree with Mr. Huffman. Especially when the natural stuff, created by God, is readily available. I’m all done with Monkey Weed, and after I’m done ingesting the rest of that little bag, I’ll probably never touch it again.

UPDATE: Two days later…

The night before last, I rolled a nice big blunt with the last of my K-2. I smoked it at a rate and in an amount greater than what was recommended by the kid who first turned me onto it. I spent the rest of that night at a hotel, because while I was spacey on this K-2 stuff, I locked myself and my dog out of our new place, and was too embarrassed to call the Landlord.

I woke up the next morning in a Motel 6, feeling like a piece of hammered dog shit. I had a migraine. I had cotton mouth. I felt nauseous. I had the chills. I was shaking and quivering like, if you haven’t had enough of the canine-scatological references, a dog shitting barbed wire.  I drank some water, and later wretched it all up. I knew it was from the Monkey Weed. Not just because of my Internet research and the kid’s warnings, but also because I have had personal experience with two other drugs that screw with the brain’s receptors, that were prescribed by a doctor. These had some of the same terrible side effects:


About eight years ago, I took it for about three months, to take the edge off some getting-divorced stress I was responding to negatively by despairing over the wrongly-assumed fact that I just couldn’t live without the stupid bitch. The first day, at a half-dose, I felt “up.” The second day, at a full dose, I felt much like the hammered piece of dog shit that I felt like yesterday. I had an itchy scalp, like electrical current was running through every hair on my head. I had a splitting headache, nausea, and all the same side effects as I had yesterday because of the K-2.


About fifteen years ago, I took it for about three months to take the edge off some getting-extorted anxiety I was responding to negatively by strangling the asshole who was extorting money from me until he turned purple, then after he begged for his life, throwing him on the ground and stomping on his head, sending him for a gurney ride with my bootprint on the side of his face. It turned out that Paxil made its users violent and suicidal. I couldn’t sue in the class action suit that got that shit off the market, because as I was told by the lawyer’s office manager, “I would have had to have murdered the guy, and then committed suicide.”

The Paxil had horrific side effects, while I was weaning off it. I felt this sudden sensation of terror, as I sat outside a drugstore in the passenger’s seat of my car. It felt just like someone held me under my arms while dangling me over the ledge of a one-hundred-story building…and then let me go. I never felt such a long-lasting, realistic sensation of falling in a dream, or in real-life on a roller coaster.

So I spent all morning and afternoon in bed yesterday. I couldn’t even eat. I consumed eight ounces of OJ, and that was it. My thoughts raced and repeated and annoyed me; another symptom similar to the Wellbutrin side effects. I flushed the half-a-blunt of Monkey Weed, right after my puked-up water.

My new, Providence friend was right. I don’t want any of that shit. Ever again. Neither do you. Take our word for it. Man-made shit sucks. Whether it’s legally prescribed, or illegal, as K-2 is and always should be, even in states where Marijuana is legal, receptor agonist drugs do just that: Agonize your receptors, and make you feel in agony. Not a good, warm fuzzy feeling.

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Anyone who would consume that man-made shit, when they could even more readily enjoy some God-created marijuana, as Mr. Huffman, K-2’s inventor chastised, “Is an idiot!”

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