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5% Discount on Legal Highs, Salvia Divinorum and Everything Else From The Coffeesh0p

Democracy In Action

By John Clarke

The other day, everyone’s favourite advisory council, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), decided that “harms of the synthetic cannabinoids” in Spice and similar (fucking powerful) smoking mixtures “are broadly commensurate with those of cannabis and that they should be classified accordingly.” Apparently, “they have no recognised medical use“, which of course means we must ban them straight away! You can read the full report here [PDF; 128 kb] (except the bits that are withheld from the public… perhaps we can’t handle the truth?!).

Let us pause for a moment to consider the numerous medical applications of tobacco & alcohol… Oh, wait! What’s that, ACMD? There are none?! Didn’t think so. Apart from the blatant double standards, let’s talk about why they’re wrong.

Medical Marajuana: By the looks of these doobs, this patient probably has Parkinson's

Medical Marajuana: By the looks of these doobs, this patient probably has Parkinson's

Cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors in your brain and immune system. These includes the synthetics, such as JWH-018, THC in cannabis and of course our body’s own cannabinoid compounds (called endocannabinoids, which include Anandamide and many others). The fact that our body not only has these receptors, but also produces compounds to act on them means they’re important, otherwise they wouldn’t have evolved. Unfortunately, research into the cannabinoid system is difficult, because cannabis is illegal, so synthetic cannabinoids which aren’t flat-out illegal are a useful tool in the lab, both to help us learn more about the cannabinoid system and related processes such as feeding & anxiety, and in the quest to develop new drugs. Also, if very little research has been conducted using these compounds about to be banned, it’s no wonder that no specific medical uses have been discovered! These things take time.

One more interesting point… Cannabis itself has medical uses, so how can these similar compounds have none? In fact, just today, the BBC reported that Cannabis may prevent Osteoporosis. I’m not going to list all the medical reasons for legalising cannabis, because I’d be writing all day. If it had no uses what so ever, why do medical dispensaries exist in the US? Banning these compounds is a massive step backwards for medical science.

Needless to say, this has been picked up by a shitload of big news outlets, including The Guardian, The Metro, Sky News, BBC Radio 1 and The Times (who listed Coffeesh0p as a source! It’s a poor article, but christ, that cheered me up!)  A lot of those sites allow users to comment under the article, so let’s take a look at a few:

Simple solution to stop people using Spice —
Legalise cannabis.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Banning a drug because of its “potential harm” with little research is laughable, especially seeing as it is reported to have similiar effectto cannabis of all things.

Is anyone able to explain whats implicitly wrong with psychoactive drugs in the first place?

I fail to see why spice should be banned without any evidence that it is dangerous. It seems to me our government just doesn’t like people getting high, probably incase they start thinking.

The powers that be like to control us, in other words – if it makes you feel good, or gives you some happiness, then ban it.

The stresses of paying tax are bad for me. Are they going to ban that too?

Everything we eat or do kill us slowly. Air kills us, although slowly. Time kills us. How much are they going to ban? Let people do what they want with their bodies, that is the meaning of life. If I want to smoke cannaboloids [sic] with chemicals on it, slap a warning on there and let me decide.

If they are going to ban this stuff for health reasons then they HAVE to ban alcohol and tobacco too, as they are just as, if not more, dangerous – except, of course, they provide the Govt with Tax..

Well we can’t have people getting high on anything but alcohol now can we?
After all it’s America’s recreational drug of choice and the UK’s too.

Now, these aren’t from threads found on pro-drugs forums, or comments under a pro-drugs blog, these are comments under actual articles on massive news sites. Not just one site, but all of those sites I mentioned that allow comments. I’m not saying that the internet-savvy people that’re likely to leave comments are representative of the population as a whole, but surely it says something about what the people want? I don’t think I’ll bother voting next time.  Seriously.

In short, it looks like our Smoking Mixtures section won’t be around for too much longer. Get them while you can!.

6 Responses to Democracy In Action

  1. max says:

    it will be interesting to see how the government handles this, presumably they will ban JWH-018, CP 47,497 and other cannabinoids often found in these blends, although as this list will undoubtably get longer and longer i can see a ban on all analogues (not necessarily limited to cannabinoids) similar to america’s analogue drug laws.

    at least we had a good run – and the government have been consistently slow about this so maybe there will be a year or even more time to stockpile…it’s a shame as the government could have used the legal highs industry as a model to see roughly the effects on society if illegal drugs (or some illegal drugs) were legalised and taxable etcetc

  2. Synchronium says:

    Max: I believe the ACMD is suggesting an umbrella ban to cover all analogues. Have a read of that report if you’ve got the time. Not read through it all myself yet.

    Good idea about using the industry as a model. I bet such a model would have a lot of interesting things to say!

  3. C-Lo says:

    Actually, under the US Analogue Act aminoalkylindole synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018 are legal, as they are not structurally similar to a currently scheduled substance. On the other hand classical cannabinoids or dibenzopyrans like HU-021 do fall under the analogue act, if handled with intent to consume and/or they elucidate a similar pharmacological effect as a scheduled substance, as they are structurally similar to a controlled substance, namely THC.

  4. sharon says:

    D’ya know, this is all making me ill, literally…
    Where shall I start…
    I have google alert bots (if they are bots-not that clued up on the workings of the net) which bring me alerts when salvia and ibogaine are in the news. Yesterday the moment I’ve been dreading came-I got two google alerts for salvia from the Guardian (UK). All my previous alerts have been from the States. It was only a matter of time before salvia. spice etc those equine specialists (re: ACMD-ecstasy and horse-riding) responded to the early-motion salvia scare-mongers in the house of commons.
    This comment may seem to be a bit biased towards salvia and neglectful of spice, but that’s simply because I have no personal experience of spice. It doesn’t really make any difference what substance they want to ban does it-the principle is the same-thou shalt not ingest substances other than those that will kill you (alcohol and tobacco).
    Just going to have a bit of a salvia rant now…
    How many feckin thousands of years have the Mazatecs been doing salvia?? Forgive me if I’m wrong but I don’t ever remember reading any heart-rending articles in the media about the high mortality rate of Mazatecs from using salvia.
    Do you know, what really makes me sick to my core is that salvia is actually a gentle soul-it just gets a bit mad when you make extracts from it. IT’S NOT THE PLANT’S FAULT IF PEOPLE MAKE POWERFUL EXTRACTS OF IT…
    I’ve only ever smoked natural leaf, (I’ve got nothing against responsible people doing extracts) and I’ve found it fascinating with regard to the speed it crosses the blood/brain barrier-I’ve never known anything remotely like it. What a fascinating substance. I’ve learned that salvinorin A is unique, only known psychoactive to work on the k-opioid receptor and a diterpinoid. Sorry, I’m no pharmacologist, but this sounds to me like something that should be celebrated, not banned. You can probably answer this John; is it like America here, insofar as if salvia gets banned here, will this mean that it won’t get funding for research into health benefits for mental illness it may have…
    My daughter totally flipped the other week-got sectioned again while I was looking after her-she has full-on manic episodes-she was totally unmanagable ’til I rolled a joint with salvia in it as an experiment; her mood changed from violent to harmless-she was still manic but spent three hours after the salvia joint totally happy dancing like a lune to roni size.
    One of the many things that makes me ill is that the government is basing this ban on ignorance. I can’t even articulate an argument with them anymore; they make me so ill. Everything I could say now has been said before…
    So this is the one thing that I can think of to say that I haven’t heard before
    You know that dude frm the ACMD who got bollocked by jacqui smith for saying that horse-riding was more dangerous than ecstasy? Well I’m curious to know if he still works for her on the ACMD. If he does, then how come-why hasn’t he resigned in view of the fact that she made a show of him and totally undermined his professional integritry?
    Now, in view of the fact that we know that she made a twat of him and he accepted it, how can he ever expect us to take anything he ever says about drugs making us ill seriously again??
    much love synchro to you and your beautiful lady, i love your blog and i look forward to it every week x

  5. Chris says:

    I’m afraid the Government would never go down the path of harm reduction by allowing some kind of regulation in the legal high industry as they have the interests of the illegal drugs trade at heart.

  6. Synchronium says:

    C-Lo: I believe they’ll be suggesting a similar law to the US analogue law, not a carbon copy of it. Still, useful to know.

    Sharon: All excellent points. Your daughter is lucky she has such a relaxed mum! As it happens, you were my very first email subscriber, and as thanks for your fantastic(ally positive!) comment, I’d be happy to send you a bag of free salvia leaf, if you’d like to email me your address?

    Chris: Interesting speculation! If the government do have a hand in the illegal drug trade, they certainly wouldn’t try and regulate the industry. Why settle for 15% VAT and (relatively small) business taxes, when they could take slice of such a juicy, illegal, profit-filled pie?

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