K2 in the Workplace Goes Undetected

employees at work Most employers and court officers do routine drug testing to ensure those they are supervising are staying drug free and healthy. However, one drug that has become increasingly common over the past few years is flying under the radar. That’s right. K2 synthetic marijuana is not usually detected on a traditional drug test. Read on to find out more.

What is K2?

K2 is a synthetic drug marketed as an “herbal incense,” but it is filled with harmful chemicals such as JWH-018 and JWH-073 that act in the place of THC that is found in marijuana. As more and more people learned about the substance (also known as Spice and fake pot), it grew in popularity as a legal alternative to marijuana. Many states moved quickly to ban the substance that was frequently being sold in convenience stores and gas stations across the nation. However, it is still accessible and is still being widely used.


Employers and probation officers typically use a Basic 5 Panel UA to test for drug use. However, this test does not detect synthetic substances like K2. It does detect:

  1. THC

  2. Cocaine

  3. Methamphetamine

  4. Amphetamine

  5. Opiates

Since K2 does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it uses other chemicals to mimic the effects of THC by acting on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. That’s why the drug likely won’t show up on these multi-drug test kits.

Signs and Symptoms

More and more people are using it as an alternative to marijuana. Aside from its harmful chemicals, it can cause serious reactions. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of someone who may be using K2. As our previous blog post about the drug mentions, ingredients are up to 10 times more active than THC, according to its creator John Huffman. Mixing in the synthetic cannabinoids can cause severe side effects including:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Seizures

  • Increased heart rate

  • Hallucinations

  • Dizziness

  • Red eyes

Employers and court officers have an obligation to keep our communities safe. Understand the symptoms and risks behind this drug. ARCpoint realizes that the dangers of using K2 are serious and now offers testing for this synthetic marijuana. Find a location near you for more information on our K2 screening services. Call (816) 875-9301 for more information.

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