…and Spice and Everything Not So Nice

I’d heard of “Spice” and “K2” but, I never really given them much thought. I’ve seen a few articles in the paper. I’ve an acquaintance that ran afoul of the law and is on some sort of probation. He has mentioned smoking it as an alternative to cannabis. “Spice” doesn’t show in his required urine testing. It just wasn’t on my radar until I got an email from an old buddy of mine. His interest was purely of research in nature and me being the “drug guy” he dropped me a line asking what I knew of it.

I had to admit ignorance. All I could tell him was that it was marketed as incense and people smoked the crap. I mentioned it could have drain cleaner in it for all I knew and I had no interest in ingesting anything of the sort. He schooled me just enough to spike my curiosity. So I went poking around, and here we are.

It appears that these products contain an unknown vegetation spiked with various synthetic cannabinoids. Why these don’t show on a urinalysis and Marinol (a cannabinoid analogue) does I haven’t a clue. And frankly, I haven’t enough interest to look into it. I’d guess the molecules are dissimilar enough…

Various samples tested have revealed various combinations of chemicals and varying concentrations. The active ingredients carry names like, HU-210, JWH-073, JWH-18, etc. There appears to be no real consistency in the ingredients found in the products.

Though on one hand I somewhat admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the manufacturers on the other I feel that marketing such a product down-right irresponsible. Not only that but, the resulting fallout from peddling this dope is rippling across the waters. If you’ve been waiting for a rant you won’t be disappointed.

These synthetic cannabinoids are being outlawed by way of the Controlled Substance Act. They are being classified as a schedule I. On the face of it you might think that’s one hell of a good idea. Let’s look a little deeper, shall we?

Raphael Mechoulam came up with HU-210. The “HU” stands for Hebrew University. You’ll recall Raphael; he’s the cat that isolated THC and later discovered the endogenous cannabinoid Anandamide. He’s been doing good work with cannabinoids, over there, for years. HU-210 has shown great promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

So, once again, still some more, we have a promising agent for the treatment of a disease in schedule I, “a category of drugs not considered legitimate¬†for medicinal use.” Shit-oh-dear. Cannabis research has been stymied in this country for over 40 years because of its scheduling. Much of the work done here has been with Marinol simply because it’s a legal drug. You know damned well researchers would love to kick those shackles loose and get some real work done.

Has anyone bothered to ask how and or why these dangerous (my opinion) products were marketed in the first place? Isn’t it obvious? Smoke a few joints, eat a few canna brownies, whatever, and the imbibers will be “dirty” for weeks. That is a problem for folks involved with the Department of Corrections or subject to testing by their employers.

If cannabis was legal Spice and K2 would never have existed. Whole plant cannabis is a hell of a lot safer than some sort of green stuff in a little bag with something sprayed on it. Spice is a child of cannabis prohibition, plain and simple.

And what’s next? What new unknown compound is going to hit the streets? What new “designer drug” will be formulated in an effort to get around this ridiculous prohibition?

A common cry of anti-prohibitionists is “End the madness!” How the hell are we going to do that while the loons are running the asylum?



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