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JWH-018

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator June 8, 2011

    We get many comments on our stories about K2/Spice, the chemical “JWH-018” and others like it that the media have dubbed “fake pot” or “synthetic marijuana.” The reason there is even such a chemical is that the scientist who invented it, John W. Huffman, could not get access to natural cannabis to study cannabinoids. Now he’s telling ABC News what we’ve been saying for decades: prohibition creates more dangerous drugs!

    (ABC News) now that “Spice” and other forms of imitation pot are sending users to emergency rooms across America, the retired professor has an idea of how to stem the epidemic. If the federal government would legalize the real thing, says Huffman, maybe consumers wouldn’t turn to the far more dangerous fake stuff.

    Huffman, who developed more than 400 “cannabinoids” as an organic chemist at Clemson University, says that marijuana has the benefit of being a known quantity, and not a very harmful one. We know the biological effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, Huffman told ABC News, because they have been thoroughly studied. “The scientific evidence is that it’s not a particularly dangerous drug,” said Huffman.

    “I talked to a marijuana provider from California, a doctor, a physician,” explained Huffman, “and he said that in California, that these things are not near the problem they are in the rest of the country simply because they can get marijuana. And marijuana, even for recreational use is quite easy to get in California, and it’s essentially decriminalized. And marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as these compounds.”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 24, 2010

    Well, if nothing else, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is predictable.

    DEA says it will make ‘fake pot’ products illegal
    via The Fort Worth Star Telegram

    [excerpt] Within 30 days, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will criminalize the possession and sale of “fake pot” products and the chemicals they contain for at least a year while it considers whether to ban them permanently.

    The DEA announced Wednesday that it will temporarily control five chemicals used in products such as “K2” and “Spice,” as well as the products themselves, according to a press release from the agency.

    In 30 days the agency will publish a final notice making the products illegal for at least one year, with the possibility of a six-month extension while the Department of Health and Human Services studies whether the chemicals should be permanently controlled, according to the release.

    And from the DEA’s official press release: The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products.  Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

    To date, NORML officially has had little to say regarding this matter. The issue is somewhat removed from NORML’s mission statement — as the organization supports regulations for the adult use, production, and distribution of marijuana — not the retail sale and recreational use of synthetic cannabinoid agonists, which is what these chemicals are.

    That said, the growing popularity of products are a predictable outgrowth of criminal marijuana prohibition. As prohibition is apt to do, it has driven the production of a commodity into the hands of unregulated, unknown dealers, driven up the potency of the commodity, and in doing so created a scenario where the consumer is faced with a potentially greater health risks than they would be had they simply had the legal choice to use the product they actually desired, in this case cannabis.

    Given that most manufacturers of these products are overseas and not subject to U.S. laws and regulations, it is unlikely that the DEA’s action will in any way halt the dissemination, use, or misuse of these products by the public. Most likely, the DEA’s clamp down will likely only make the situation more dangerous — from both a legal standpoint and from a health standpoint — to the consumer.

    I guess the DEA just never learns.

    Ryan Grim at Huffington Post has more on the story here.