By Michael Blain
As liberal as I am in my overall view of the majority of illicit substances, I cannot be shut up and shut out about the scourge from the laboratories of Clemson: JWH-018, better known as “spice.” Whereas marijuana hits the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, so does “spice,” except that it overloads these receptors into a disassociative psychedelic state, a far cry from the connective psychedelics such as ayahuasca and psilocybin. This overload of the receptors can cause fatal epileptic seizures and an extreme disconnect from reality for the user, especially if they are not accustomed to altered states of consciousness. This chemical was never developed in the first place as a legal substitute for marijuana at Clemson, so why it has so easily adopted that role is another talking point in favor of the legalization of cannabis itself? But that is another discussion altogether.
There has not been a single documented death directly resulting from marijuana in the entire history of the world. “Spice,” on the other hand, is already entirely responsible for eleven deaths, and that is just with the directly documented links. This is not an overblown media issue in which shows such as Dateline use scare tactics to get better ratings by manipulating the inherently naïve nature of concerned parents that comes with generation gaps. This is a real issue, and if the government wants an actual war on a specific drug, one that is actually winnable and not some mere money making masquerade, then “spice” is it and by all means, for once, set the dogs loose!
Last September, an eleven-year-old in Las Vegas was hospitalized from use of this substance, and shortly thereafter a suicide occurred of another adolescent who shot themselves in the head next to a pool after being overloaded and disconnected from reality for several weeks due to the use of “spice,” according to friends and family. JWH-018 and several similar derivatives that are commonly sold as “spice” were outlawed already in Nevada last year, but that hasn’t stopped smoke shops from selling substances that produce identical effects to “spice” that use slightly different chemical processes to achieve the very same effects. I truly cannot stress enough how much this should hit home, coming from my liberal, borderline activist point of view. If you or anyone you know smokes “spice,” tell them to grow up and just smoke marijuana because legal or not, the consequences are nowhere near as dire.