John W. Huffman, a professor of organic chemistry from Clemson University, unwittingly gave rise to the synthetic marijuana phenomenon through his research on the interaction between various drugs and the brain. His formulas, published in countless medical journals, became recipes for industrious entrepreneurs looking to make a quick buck off a cheap but dangerous high. More dangerous than the cannabis it was being packaged to compete against. Spice, K2, Skunk — those should ring a bell.
From 1984 until early this year, Huffman and his team at Clemson created 460 synthetic cannabinoid compounds for tests on lab animals. Under a $2-million federal drug grant, they studied the interaction between drugs and brain receptors.
The synthetic marijuana became widely available, youths being able to pick it up from corner stores, novelty and head shops. I, along with several friends, gave it a try, and can attest to a definite quickening of my pulse. It made me feel unsteady, a feeling cannabis has never given rise to. I immediately assured my fellow smokers I’d never try it again and they would be wise not to as well. Something just didn’t seem right. Huffman himself is quoted as saying:
These things are dangerous — anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette. They have profound psychological effects. We never intended them for human consumption.
Psychological effects are just the beginning. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, they’ve had over 4,500 calls over the past 2 years from people using fake marijuana. Emergency room doctors are treating patients for seizures, hallucinations, tremors, paranoia, convulsions, high blood pressure and rapid heart rate.
The emergency ban has been applied to five of Huffman’s compounds, the most popular being JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-200; JWH-018 is reportedly ten times more potent than THC and can be easily produced.
You can make them in two steps from commonly available starting materials.
Should the Department of Health and Human Services decides to outlaw the synthetic cannabinoids, they would remain illegal for up to six months, at which point the DEA would start making public notices concerning the outlaw of them, along with other bureaucratic steps to solidify their permanent illegality.
However, despite unintentionally keeping underage kids, military personnel and the those of you in the corporate world high (you know, because they like to piss test you and whatnot), Huffman thinks real cannabis should be legal. He says:
“You can’t overdose on marijuana, but you might on these compounds. These things are dangerous, and marijuana isn’t, really.”
If only our government would listen.
Source: LA Times