"To further complicate it, anyone can put whatever they want in a bag and call it K2," Rosenbaum explains. "It makes it impossible [to determine the effects of the drug]. Everyone is getting different samples from different sources manufacturing it."
"There are some brands that are garbage," says Lou. "And there are some that are consistent in their quality, like Black Rhino and Spike. [But] there are so many imposters."
Lou says he thinks about what's in the Spice, "but it's not something I worry about. My biggest concern is the carcinogenic properties of the herbs."
While Rosenbaum says the average age of the users he's seeing in the ER is in their early 20s, "We're seeing 12, 13, 14 year olds, too. To some respect, it's easier to buy than beer."
He also acknowledges that "it will never show up on a test designed to detect marijuana."
"I think prohibition at this point is prudent," says Rosenbaum. "How many kids come to the ER after pot? Not a lot. That means it's doing something that marijuana is not."
"In many respects, this needs to be a legislated. But first we need to figure out what needs to be regulated. And that's a tall order. It's going to be tough."
According to the DEA, K2 has "recently been banned by some US domestic and overseas military commands, where the potential for its abuse has been recognized."
"That's obviously disturbing," Payne told the Phoenix, referring to servicemen using the substance. But, "there's not a lot we can do about it when it's not illegal."
"If the government tries a knee-jerk reaction and tries to ban a JWH, then there are other chemicals that can take its place," says Lou, explaining that science and capitalism will always be ahead of the government. "Why don't we just abandon our current drug regime and start regulating everything so we know what's inside stuff?
"If I wasn't on probation," he insists, "I'd be smoking marijuana."
Valerie Vande Panne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.