Over a matter of weeks in December she went from having migraines to falling into a daylong psychotic episode, and in January emerged from a medically induced coma with profound brain damage. Her stepfather told CNN: "I'd never have thought we'd be in this situation. If she had bought it off the street or from a corner, that's one thing, but she bought it from convenience store."
Her ordeal and others like it sound like real-life Reefer Madness, made all the weirder by the shady legality of it all. But what is synthetic cannabis, and can it really be that much more dangerous than regular weed?
As sold, synthetic cannabis comes as little pouches with brand names such as K-2 or Spice, full of tea-like dried herbs treated with chemicals that contain cannabinoid molecules. A 2009 thematic paper by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction lists three major categories of these compounds:
— The "classical cannabinoids," THC analogues based on a dibenzopyran ring, were developed in the 1960s. They include HU-210 (for "Hebrew University," where it was developed), and Nabilone and Dronabinol, which can be used to treat nausea after chemotherapy.
— The "non-classical cannabinoids," the cyclohexylphenol series developed by Pfizer in the 1970s. They include CP 59,540 and CP 47,497.
— The "JWH compounds," named for John W. Huffman of Clemson University, one of the scientists who created them in the 1990s. His and other labs developed them largely from organic compounds called indoles and pyrroles. Several of these molecules, too, have been shown to stimulate appetites and suppress nausea, for instance, and may have some benefits for sufferers of PTSD.
They've also been shown to get people good and high. Huffman, now an emeritus professor, has gone on record expressing resigned dismay that anyone would actually smoke the stuff. "These things are dangerous — anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette," Huffman told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. "They have profound psychological effects. We never intended them for human consumption." (Weary of his notoriety, he declined to comment for this story.)
Drugs are not food. Yes I state the obvious and yet some people still do not know or understand, bizarre.
"...If she had bought it off the street or from a corner, that's one thing, but she bought it from convenience store...” This sentence from the article has no merit. It is a drug and is taken for an effect and it fantasy of the user that it does not come with side effects being damage to the body or causing death.
Drugs are not food.
"In 2010, more than 11,000 American emergency room visits were tied to synthetic cannabinoids (to be fair, regular pot generated nearly 40 times that many)."
The DAWN Drug Abuse Statistics you were quoting are the result of a positive test, not necessarily the cause of the ER visit. Great way to misrepresent science, as usual.
"The NHAMC survey doesn't distinguish between people who go to the ER with drugs in their system, and people who go to the ER because of the drugs in their system."
I definitely don't disagree with what you're saying, however I believe that the author (and Father of the girl) was trying to emphasize that these aren't drugs that are picked up from the drug dealer on the corner but instead the gas station on the corner - snuggled right in between the Snicker's and JuJuBees. The effect was meant to show not only the ease that these chemicals can be obtained but (and more importantly I think) that kids who would never consider going to some crack house in the middle of the ghetto to pick up their dope just might consider going to the 7-11 two blocks from their house. Easier, safer and cheaper to obtain and doesn't show up on a drug test... with these 'positives' being touted I think they're both just trying to show that kids who would otherwise never touch the stuff might be enticed into trying it.
If you have a problem, see a doctor, get a prescription, and follow the prescription. Even drugs from doctors have side effects. Prescription drugs are prescribed for serious reasons.
Nonprescription drugs are just self-inflicted effects with a blinds eye to the side effects and stupidity.
jbmshasta I wonder if the girl's father was wishing she HAD bought it off the street, because then she would have bought the real thing, and the whole nasty side effect incident would never have happened.
Why are these dangerous synthetics being developed anyway if the real thing is much safer?
Somehow missing from this article is the fact that the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded Dr. Huffman's research--that's right, the same government agency that blocks all legitimate research of the possible benefits of natural cannabinoids, not to mention their use by those with recognized medical needs, is also to thank for this newest public health scourge. Your tax dollars at work!
Also note the statement "… in determining which substances to regulate, the federal government tends to err on the side of personal freedom until thousands of people turn up in hospitals" is certainly true of products sold by large corporations; but it definitely doesn't apply to cannabis, which was outlawed without anyone seriously hospitalized, let alone dead, in over five thousand years of use.
just end the alcohol prohibition and legalize it already... oh wait...
No facts, No response...
Once again, I get what you're saying... and having rheumatoid arthritis myself believe me I know personally some of those nasty side effects. Ever hear of Humira? Methotrexate? Orencia? Enbrel? Standard treatment meds and some of the nastiest out there.
But who's even talking about prescriptions here? Again, I believe the point this father was trying to make is that it wasn't as if his daughter was out running the streets, she went to a friggin' gas station. Think Cumberland Farms, not crack house. While she knew she was getting high and it was the wrong thing to do she probably didn't think what she was doing was as serious as the real thing - as a direct result of how these are priced, marketed and sold.
You're telling me you honestly can't see that?
The efforts to synthesize pot started coming as a result of the 70-80's pushes for legalization that all failed--even though pot was known to have medical value. The government had to show that it was unbiased, and offer the same type of funding that synthesized opiates for Fentanyl and Dilaudid and the others. Opiates are Schedule 1 just like pot. Same with cocaine, which was also synthesized.
If the effects of the synthetic forms of the Schedule 1 banned drugs were ALL tabulated, I would predict that the synthetics have caused more death, destruction, and mayhem--and yes, ADDICTION, than the natural ones. In total social cost, synthetics are devastating. Even highly trained, honest, caring doctors accidentally kill people with them COMMONLY. Both Fentanyl and Dilaudid kill with a higher regularity than heroin or morphine, because the addicts know their maintenance level habits well-and with an opiate, you can keep that level of addiction maintenance forever-no increases needed. Yet neither can be obtained without prescription? Prescribe the morphine derivative for me, thanks. It would be nice to feel like I'm not only the customer when I go to the hospital, but like I'm also a person who has actually thought this stuff through and backed it with plenty of reading. Obviously, there are things that the 'real deal' aren't as well suited to, but that notwithstanding, I'd rather have natural than synthetic drugs. Our bodies know how to process them better.
Anylcon. You seem to be very sure that there are no positives to drugs. I would suggest that this is probably to do with a bad experience encountered within your own life or someone close to you. Whilst I understand the mindset and reasoning behind your reaction to drugs (assuming that my postulation is correct) and that I wouldn't dare try to convince you otherwise, you might like to consider that there are those of us who don't enjoy partaking in the hard and extremely dangerous drugs; alcohol and nicotine. Instead, without the intention to become moronically intoxicated for the pure sake of getting hammered, we carefully choose the rare opportunity to unwind or explore our inner selves with a substance that is natural, carefully chosen and well researched, in order to tailor to our desired state of mind.
Not all drugs are bad. If a person respects themselves enough to do the necessary research and avoid themselves harm then they are most definitely not the same type that just want to get as high as possible and convince themselves that they can fly off of buildings.
I understand this definition, do you?
I clearly do understand. I'm not sure how being facetious furthers the discussion though dude.
Your bang on the money.
Also notice how Anyicon's response had nothing to do with your, very basic point. Anyicon seems to have gone to even greater lengths than the govt at regulating substances to a scheduled I. It seems any substance, synthetic or natural, proscribed or not, they are all highly dangerous with catastrophic side affects...Beware the baby tylenol...
Remember Fletch, there is no reasoning with a robot... hey wait a minute...
Digressing back to the article. If a business is allowed to sell something, anything, over the counter with no id check; that substance at the very least, must not nearly kill our children, causing irreparable brain damage, blindness, and paralysis. Especially if the natural alternative, bought from a street corner drug dealer, has never, in the entire history of our species, killed someone or caused any of the debilitating side affects of the government alternative.
"If you don't have ID kid, I can't sell you those smokes; but hey, try some of this!"
you can good Räuchermischung buy at raum-oase.com ! :)
Apparently in New Zealand they are putting the onus on the manufacturers to PROVE that what they are offering to the retailers is safe*. Which will undoubtedly kill the market because the ratbags won't afford to do the testing.
*haven't got round to making the Tobacco companies sort that out yet, probably too good a tax earner. NZers are paying over $10 tax per pack of 20.
Mind you, the Baccy Barons are such a pack of bastards they would probably come up with tame scientists who could prove that nicotine is harmless.
Kiwiiano... I'm right 98% of the time, so who cares about the other 3%?
Well, considering that marijuana is completely safe, I would say this is more dangerous.
Anyicon, I'm not trying to attack you, but please act like an adult in your comments. Your lack of maturity is not desired. To anyone else reading this comment, I apologize that 'my' comment is not on topic with the article.
Deal with your problems in a mature way, see a doctor for your problems and follow his advice. If the doctor issues a prescription for your problems, follow the directions of the prescription.
Drugs off street is just being moronic. Of course, if you rationalize it ok to buy off the street, then you have already rationalized those who do not are wrong and your moronic activity will continue and can't be helped.
Take care. ;)
AnyIcon I use herbal medicine all the time and it works great with no side effects, and its free because it grows in the back yard. Are you saying that I am a moron and I should go pay a doctor hundreds of dollars and take dangerous drugs that could potentially kill me just so I could please you and some other strangers in the government?
You're absolutely right. It's not like there are any financial benefits for doctors to push prescription drugs. That would be silly...
@ AnyIcon Deal with your ignorance. A doctor cannot prescribe you Common Knowledge or Empathy. You preach that people are blindly moronic when choosing their own avenues yet you ask us to BLINDLY heed your advice. You should consider that some people are more competent than others and are able to formulate their own decisions.. Don't misunderstand the value we see in doctors and medicine. Just know that a lot of doctors are USELESS! Bah, you'll NEVER get it!! There is no point, Good'ay :)
What a surprise. Juice-owned JSA bans maryjane, and then Juice at Hebrew University (!) engineer a synthetic to sell to G3ntile kids who want to get high. Problem is, the synthetic (available legally in convenience stores) can cause brain damage from mild usage (precisely what MJ was said to be able to do by anti-drug neocons).