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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.
Sorted.

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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