Saturday, February 14, 2009
Is this the end of chemical cannabis?
The end of “chemical cannabis”
First, let me explain by what I mean by Chemical Cannabis. This is the name given to legal cannabis alternatives like the popular Spice. Spice and others under different names are sold in head shops (smart shops/head stores/hemp shops etc.) around the globe. It is usually sold as incense and I have even seen a not for human consumption print on a packet of a brand before. However, nobody I know uses it as Incense. Yours truly has tried a few of the alternatives and enjoyed one or two somewhat. Ultimately I will admit if you want a cannabis-like high, then use cannabis, responsibly.
Products falling under the “Chemical Cannabis” category have been around since around 2002 and became popular quickly as some enjoy the affects and its often cheaper than buying the same weight of herbal cannabis. But the problem with its legality came around after a German Pharmaceutical company THC Pharm, a company that makes medicines for cannabis, found an ingredient known as JWH-018 in Spice and similar products. A string of companies in the past few years had been looking at the products to find the active ingredients, which are always listed as being herbal on the packets or Website relating to the product. What is JWH-018?
JWH-018 is a synthetic cannabinoid, which has pain relieving affects and an effect similar to THC, which as you should know is one psychoactive substance in Cannabis. JWH-018 was created by John W. Huffman, an organic chemist studying in South Carolina. Huffman had said his goal when making the substance had been to find a simple compound to study structure-receptor relationships. JWH-018 has not been licensed anywhere worldwide for medical applications and very little is known about the affects it has on humans. This substance along with others was found to be in the products.
The report from THC Pharma came out on December 15th 2008 and Austria was quick to react banning Spice and similar products on December 18th. Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands has also banned the products while it looks likely other countries may follow suit soon in the coming months, even if its just them hopping on the bandwagon. Some users have said they had ill affects but I guess that goes with anything from cannabis to alcohol to even nicotine, different strokes for different folks as they say. Overall, it seems these products are safe enough but like cannabis they shall become outlawed. Personally, outlawing these products because they have a synthetic THC in them is not an issue, but the continued outlaw of a plant because THC is one of its active ingredients is enough to make one angry.
The whole situation is in my eyes just another swipe at the alternative high suppliers around the globe, aimed at disrupting or closing down the businesses. Party Pills and smoking products are being banned worldwide which I have to admit I find funnier more than anything else. It is funny because the result is the governments lose the tax income and people who enjoy these products may return to cannabis or other illegal drugs and make the criminal gangs even more money.
Once again, most governments have taken an issue and just squashed it without thinking of alternative means, which would benefit those it governs.
Some may applaud the people who found a loophole in the laws and managed to sell a product that contains an ingredient claimed to be five times more potent than THC, some may say it is better to see the end of these products. Regardless it could be the end of these products worldwide so if you are a fan keep yourself up to date and maybe buy in bulk. Then ask your local head shop (smart shop) to do more pro-cannabis campaigning instead of selling the alternatives and try not to smoke poor quality cannabis if you return to the real deal.
For me from now until the end, there is no and will be no alternative to Cannabis, not for recreational users in the form of “incense” and not for medical users in the form of tablets or sprays made from a compound of the plant.