Synthetic Cannabinoids, “Legal (And Illegal) Highs” – A Warning.

    Spice is the most famous brand name.  A herbal mixture, sprayed with synthetic cannabinoid(s) and marketed as a smoking mixture.  It’s horrible stuff that produces a horrible effect.  In fact, since December 2009, it’s been just as illegal to possess or sell as cannabis but that means chemists and unregulated Chinese manufacturers have produced new variants that circumvent the law, new analogues of delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), the key active ingredient in cannabis.

    It is horrible stuff and I strongly recommend you don’t touch it or anything like it.  However, it’s important that you know the facts.

    All these products are based on slight molecular variations of THC but the benefits of cannabis are much more complex than that.  It is the interaction of around 100 cannabinoids in the plant together with terpines, flavonoids and other compounds that produce the delightful and therapeutic effects.  CBD, with antipsychotic and pain relieving effects is the next most significant but CBN, CBG, CBC, delta-8-tetrahydrocannibinol and many others are gradually being understood.

    The effect of synthetic cannabinoids is vile.  It is really, truly horrible.  They have none of the inherent, natural, protective balance of real cannabis.  They cause paranoia, anxiety, fear, delusions, all the symptoms that describe psychosis, the term that has been used to demonise cannabis which, in its natural form, is actually very safe and contains anti-psychotic agents.  Worse than that, they can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations, seizures and vomiting.  As well as the lack of natural, counterbalancing ingredients, they are also believed to bind more strongly to the cannabinoid receptors, increasing the duration and potency of their effects.

    CLEAR does not suggest that these products should be banned.  Prohibition is a dangerous and irresponsible policy that always causes more harm than it prevents.

    Remember, Spice is already banned but it hasn’t made any difference.  Chemists across the world are happy to continue designing new chemicals and there are plenty of unscrupulous manufacturers who will service the trade and businessmen that will distribute it.   There is an ever-increasing number of “legal highs” coming on the market every week.  Many are designed to operate on the cannabinoid receptors. At the end of the supply chain is your local head shop and CLEAR would suggest that they too should consider whether it is responsible to sell these products.

    These synthetic cannabinoids and all “legal (and illegal) highs” are the product of prohibition.  They would not exist, nor pose any significant problem, were it not for the ludicrous, self-defeating and harmful policy followed by the British government and other misguided administrations all over the world.

    The only answer is to regulate, to introduce a system of licensing, age restrictions and consumer protection.  It won’t eliminate the problem entirely but at least it will give us some degree of control, because prohibition provides none.

    The ultimate answer is to end the prohibition of cannabis.

    It would be useful if readers could share any experience of synthetic cannabinoids here.  These will be strictly moderated to ensure there is no promotion or encouragement towards specific products.

    • DrugPolicyNews

      A good article. Synthetic cannabinoids can be pleasant and relatively safe, I’m sure. In general though, it is far better to stick with a drug which has been *hugely* researched than one with no history of huan use.

      It is incredibly refreshing to see an organisation whose primary focus is cannabis calling for regulation of all drugs instead of the usual “cannabis is safe as anything and everything else is toxic” nonsense.

    • Focusonpeace

      Perhaps if the real deal wasnt prohibited no one would see sense in buying this dangerous fake crap. Good article though.

    • totxo

      I smoke once that shit, and apart of the taste, which is horrible, I had anxiety and paranoia for one hour and headache for two days….

    • sykesbenson

      Fuck that shit, I medicate with Gods’erb not fuckin’ Godfrey Wongs’erbal extract!;-/

      Only people to blame are the Prohibitionists, You’earin’ this Cameron You fuckin’ cheesy snydie wrong’un!?!:-/

    • Derek Williams

      Godfrey Wongs’erbal extract!”  – It’s 
      Godfrey Wongs’erbal additive actually Sykesbenson; These chemicals are totally man made, there’s nothing natural or herbal about them.

    • maxwood

      Before trying any squirtdrug chemistry, check out

      Eucalyptus, oregano, catnip and pennyroyal are the real thing, not “fake pot”.

      I wonder if (from the picture, where the herb doesn’t look very well screened) users are being lured into rolling “Spice” &c into hot burning monoxide joints, which can be a major cause of the bad effects mentioned.  Try a 25-mg single toke in a Choomette long-stemmed screened-crater utensil.

    • thenewageoutlaws

      hey peter Reynolds, your great :)
      question i have is ,i saw your video post about home affairs committee about cannabis (prof david nutt), what does the committee do with all the evidence gave? can they pass law or push it in parliment? ….or is it just a nice talk

    • Peter Reynolds

      All the committee can do is make recommendations but it is very influential

    • Alejo Alberdi

      I’d stress that many synthetic cannabinoids were sponsored by NIDA

      Synthetic marijuana was created strictly for research at Clemson- Kingsport Times-News

    • Jordan Toner

      Ive had a try of it, tasted really manufactured and bitter, not a nice high, very.. hard to say, dull almost like the aftermath of a headache. Waste of money. 

    • ChristopherSawtell

      Dr. Richard Huffman, the original creator of these chemical compounds, said:

      “I want to stress that these compounds were not meant for human consumption. Their effects in humans have not been studied, and they could very well have toxic effects. They absolutely should not be used as recreational drugs. I would emphasize the risk people are taking when they smoke these products. We simply don’t know what the health effects might be”

      The sooner this kind of stuff is no longer desired the better.

    • Steve Hilton

      My experiences with this stuff are very negative. I am a medicinal user and really need cannabis to function at all usefully. during a time of shortage about four years ago I decided to try some……… made me stoned but not high and when I tried to stand I passed out and fell to the floor. So I left it alone. However recently I have been very bad physically and I am again experiencing an absence of proper medicine… and so-called friend said I should try a new type of synthetic high he said they were much improved and safer now. I very stupidly went and got some. Started off alright for a day or so and then WHAM! It was worse than before I experienced mental blockages, vomiting and loss of appetite. Worst of all it exasperated some of my physical symptoms so it is worthless medicinally to me.It also affected my thought processes very badly, today is the first day my head has started to clear, after about a week of recovery. I also strongly suspect that this artificial stuff might very well be physically addicting, for the last week I have been sitting here wanting to go and buy some more of that crap, even though I know it would do me in. I have resisted the urge even though it was very strong at first, and I am determined to never buy this ever again.


    • Dan Ford

      Watch out guys! This stuff sounds diabolical!

    • Grant Meier

      Well i have to say the complete opposite of what most are saying, although I do agree with the production methods needing to be better regulated and researched, But as far as the effects from this synthetic smoke, I find it to be 100 times more pleasant than real weed. Different brands give me different feelings and I choose how i want to feel. Some make me as high as a kite and i cant stop laughing, other times its like a punch in the face and I just wast to watch TV all day. I have never had a “bad” experience with them. I do believe everyone has a different reaction to these substances as the receptor uptake is different for everyone. Hope this also sheds some light on the subject. I dont think its all bad…………….

    • Tommy Mahurin

      ive tried the stuff and the worst effects i had was some harsh lung infections however i wouldnt have even thought about useing it had it not been for the fact that these commies want to drug test for jobs,doctors appointments ,etc. and ive got soo many friends who completly switched from cannibas to spice just for that reason alone sadley the ones who attemt to switch back say they can no longer get high from smoking cannibas anymore (i personaly had the same trouble myself after useing spice for about 6 months) to sat it may be addictive is a complete and total understatement ive got one friend in particular who smoked cannibas for a large part of his life but then got arrested for poss. of cannibas and some other petty charge they put him on this ignorant program they call drug court this invoves atleast 3 drug tests aweek he was sentanced to 18 months of this crap he was also a medicenal cannibas user after suffering for about 6 months he tryed some called mr smiley it was sold at our local tobacco shop it did the trick he got high and passed the courts drug tests after his 18 month sentance was over i went to him with a joint of the real thing he wouldnt touch it all he wanted was his spice now the main point ive been getting to is this he is hooked he buys 3 grams for as much as $40 dollars because its since been banned in our town and every other town in the state so he buys from a guy who orders off the web and he smokes it like crack and passes out like its heroin he buys 3 grams and before hes away from the dudes house hes got one rolled and smokin he smokes one after the other til its gone somtimes 3 grams lasts him only a couple hours if thats not addictive you tell me what is its changed him his attention span is that of a 3 year old he hacks and coughs non stop honestly hes not the same friend he was before he smoked the stuff now thats my take on the matter and ive got many other friends who use it just because they wish to get high at home on thier own time but job mandated drug screens simlply wont allow cannibas use that my friends is bullshit what i do on my time at my home is my business not my employers drunks come to work all the time but let a pot smoker come in and bam hes fired again bullshit i hope this helps someone somwhere the drug war is a jokke in this country its time for change but im afraid the change will come to late for my friends i think its a combination of crack and heroin and is just as addictive however like those drugs and others the law will never stop them they are simply wasteing time and tax payers money trying to do so thats my input i hope you post this cause ove a period of 3 years ive seen it take over many lves and if im able to keep even one person from trying it all this typeing will have been worth the pain im in (and i cant smoke cannibas right now thanks to good ole state drug laws that say to get my pain meds i have to take a drug test just like a fuckin crimanal agian i say BULLSHIT!!!!! so here i set in pain with addictive and sadly inferier medication when a big joint is all i need but they wont do my sugery if im positive for cannibas so looks like im just screwed for awhile maby forever since i live in the most ass backwards state in the country screw prohibition and SCREW DRUG SCREENS they are a clear invasion of my privacy and everyone elses as well u cant justify them to me dont bbother trying ill just cuss you like a chicken killen dog!!!