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August 2012
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Unintended consequences

One of the things about prohibition that people sometimes forget is that it so often truly does make drug-taking more dangerous.

  • Alcohol prohibition led to people going blind from government poisoned alcohol, and to dangerous alcohol stills that were both toxic and explosive.
  • Crackdowns on diversion of safer pharmaceutical amphetimines led to dangerous meth labs.
  • The many deaths from heroin cut with fentanyl are the result of prohibition. All prohibited drugs lack any safety regulation regarding dosage and purity.
  • Banning marijuana leads people to more harmful substances…

How the National Institute for Drug Abuse Helped Create the Dangerous Marijuana Alternative Known As “Spice” by Mike Riggs. 

But it appears NIDA’s quest to cure Americans of their enjoyment of marijuana has backfired. According to a report in The New Orleans Times-Picayune, funds from NIDA helped create the dangerous marijuana alternative known as “Spice” and “K2.”

The funds were disbursed in the mid-1990s to a Clemson University researcher named Dr. John W. Huffman. It was while searching for a cure to marijuana “addiction” that Huffman developed the formula for Spice:

Former Clemson University chemistry professor Dr. John W. Huffman is the namesake of JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-200, three of the synthetic cannabinoids banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2011.

“The National Institute of Drug Abuse wanted to research marijuana,” said Dr. Victor Tuckler, the emergency room toxicologist at Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans. “They were looking at different receptors of the brain to see if they could come up with a way that people wouldn’t get addicted to this stuff.”

Huffman and his colleagues created more than 400 synthetic cannabinoid compounds during the 1990s.

“Who knows how this got out,” Tuckler said. “Pretty soon, it’s on the Internet and people are making it over in China.”

Yep.

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29 comments to Unintended consequences

  • kaptinemo

    So it was Uncle that developed FrankenWeed? Why am I not surprised.

    Kinda makes you wonder who came up with the recipe for crack, huh?

  • stlgonzo

    I realize it is purely speculative on my part, but I always wondered if we would have had the crack “epidemic” if drugs where legal. Although if the drug war ends the CIA lose a major source of funding.

  • daksya

    This is a disingenuous argument. NIDA’s motives in facilitating the research that lead to Spice et al is almost certainly of a puritanical bent. But developing new ligands such as spice to reliably identify & characterize the various receptors is standard M.O. There’s no inherent connection between the creation of spice and the motives of the funding programme. If some Pharma wanted to develop THC as a FDA medicine, they would still go through the same steps as part of basic science research.

    What Prohibition ensures is that if there’s a squeeze on the supply of the established drug, then opportunistic and unscrupulous chemists will dig through such research to conjure up substitutes. Of course, since these compounds were created for limited purposes, there’s no sense of their overall toxicity, but there’s nothing sinister in their original creation.

    • darkcycle

      …but there is a connection in the sense that these compounds would have had no reason to migrate out of the Lab and into the streets, if Cannabis wasn’t illegal. The point is it is the prohibition on cannabis that drives that transfer. In the same way that the prohibitions on LSD and Speed led to Crystal Meth and MDA. When MDA was prohibited it led directly to MDMA and all the other analogs. It is an open question whether these substances would be recreational drugs in the absence of prohibition.

  • claygooding

    The loss of revenue to our government from the black market is the main obstruction to ending prohibition and may result in the only way for it to happen,,one city,one state at a time until keeping the green market in place is impossible,,,or grow your own,,don’t buy no marijuana,don’t sell no marijuana,,don’t play their game,,just your own.

    • stlgonzo

      But I tend to have a black thumb. I can brew good beer, but can’t keep a common house plant alive.

      • darkcycle

        Marijuana is no common houseplant! Take some time and learn. It’s a skill well worth having. ‘Course, being in St. Louis, you may want to practice on tomatoes. But if you can grow a tomato in your closet, you can grow a pot plant just as well. Their needs are nearly identical.

      • claygooding

        I never said nothing about bartering with your friends,,the oldest way of trade that cannot be traced by any computer,,,:<)

      • and do you sell that beer? Or do you just share with friends? The same would exist for ganja if we were free to garden (gardening as a crime – what a notion).

        Just as you brew beer (and many make wine) and share, so would we gardeners.

        Prohibition is perverse, stupid, ineffective, counter-productive, un and anti-American, anti-social, uncivil and just downright wrong.

        Oh… and we need to ban Pharma ads like we do with tobacco.

  • I don’t blame NIDA. Research is almost never a bad thing, and research into synthetic cannabinoids is not responsible for the K2/Spice phenomenon. It’s marijuana prohibition that caused that. If marijuana were legal, no one would be interested in synthetic alternatives. But when a failed urinalysis will get you fired, you’re more likely to take your chances with the fake stuff. If NIDA funding to this professor hadn’t happened, something else would have to create synthetics. Where there’s demand, someone will come up with supply.

    • Exactly. It’s prohibition that provides the unintended dangerous consequences. The NIDA funding story is merely an ironic part of that equation.

  • Francis

    Let’s not the drug warriors off that easily. As the saying goes, “foreseeable consequences are not unintended.” With prohibition, we don’t have to “foresee” anything. We’ve already seen decades worth of its deadly, destructive, and at this point, entirely predictable consequences. The so-called “iron law of prohibition” has certainly earned its title.

  • claygooding

    That pretty much finishes up an indictment to a grand jury against the ONDCP and it’s satellite federal agencies,,DEA laundering the cash,,ATF selling them guns,,CIA controlling the drug market and NIDA creating more products for criminals to sell,,,,what a world.

    • stlgonzo

      How does the old Will Rodgers saying go? Don’t steal the government hates the competition.

      Hillary was right, there is to much money in prohibition to end it.

    • War Vet

      And don’t forget about 9/11 and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . the DEA have killed over 6,000 U.S. soldiers in the form of allowing Al Qaeda and the rest of the gang sell illegal drugs. The leading cause of death to the 9/11 victims was from drugs being consumed in Europe and Asia. The U.S. spends $394.5 Million a day to keep drugs illegal and most of that money is spent in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting drug money, which is logically connected to how much we spend on drug prohibition. In WWII we were allowed to grow hemp and WWII created the precedents for ‘hemp for victory’, yet the DEA won’t let American soldiers utilize American grown hemp fibers, fuels, plastics, and foods, which very well could be better for the troops and much cheaper for the taxpayers . . . much cleaner for the nations we are deployed in . . . The DEA are Muslim Terrorist Sympathizers (actions speak louder than words) because they are hurting our troops and economy during a time of war, which is treason . . . Terrorists wouldn’t want the U.S. to utilize hemp for her war project, therefore the DEA are Muslim Terrorists (simple deductive logic) . . . Osama Bin Laden did not want the U.S. to grow hemp for her war efforts, therefore the DEA have the same goals and tactics as the late Osama Bin Laden. It was the DEA and the rest of our DOJ who set up all the road side bombs and IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan in the form of their endorsed and back 1961 U.N. Singles Convention on Narcotics. We speculated that drug money was the main funding for the Beirut barracks bombings that killed over 200 U.S. Marines (Unless we are assuming Lebanon isn’t known for their weed and hash). Air America and the CIA unloading loads of dope to Australia and other places during Vietnam proves that drug money killed at least 10,000 U.S. soldiers out of the 50,000 KIA in Vietnam . . . triple the wounded easily. Drug money was what financed the first world trade center bombings . . . drug money helped finances the massacres in Somalia, which killed a doze plus U.S. soldiers. Drug money is the only way Iran and North Korea could ever finance and develop nuclear weapons (unless we are assuming those nations are both first world nations whom could afford such programs with their taxes). The DEA and DOJ know that by keeping drugs illegal, our enemies during war can be funded, yet they don’t do anything to either legalize drugs or outlaw currency, commerce and trading –therefore they have chosen to follow Extremist Radical Islam –regardless if they know it.

  • Language

    Proper Mental Hygeine

    Americans must learn at some point in time to stop calling their enemy “Our Government”…

    Marry Proper Mental Hygeine with fundamental economics…

    with logic, address the previous false assumption…

    Knowing the truth is very liberating…

    • claygooding

      Anthony,,it will be a lot easier to quit calling our government “the enemy” when they quit kicking down our doors and shooting our dogs.

  • mikekinseattle

    The recently deceased Gore Vidal had this to say in 1970, from HuffPo. Still 100% relevant.

  • Plant Down Babylon

    I agree with the whole sharing/bartering thing. It’s how we get stuff done here in the islands!
    It’ll be even better as $$$ buys less and less.

    OT
    I love how they’re messing with Duffy in socal!

    What a raging bitch her and Hagg are. I hate to say it, but do they have a horrible cancer in their future that only medical maryjane can help eleviate?!

    Won’t that day of their personal awakening be bittersweet for them.

  • darkcycle

    Stephen Colbert on Micheal Phelps:
    “He smoked the Sticky-Icky, and then he smoked your ass”
    http://tinyurl.com/cmc6bwz

  • Scott

    LSD25 was discovered during legitimate research at Sandoz Laboratories by Dr. Albert Hoffman over half a century ago.

    Heroin was invented by Bayer over a century ago and proclaimed to be a miracle drug.

    While prohibitionists want people to believe the devil used ‘evil magic’ to craft Schedule I substances, the truth never comes close to matching their demonization.

    Ironically, the actual ‘evil magic’ is the demonization of such substances.

    • primus

      You fail to explain the whole Bayer heroin story; first came ‘soldier’s disease’ which was actually addiction to the morphine used to ease the pain of battlefield injuries. To wean these veterans off morphine, first codeine was developed. When that too proved ‘addictive’ they developed heroin. The reason it was touted as a miracle drug was its use as a weaning agent for both morphine and codeine. What they failed to realize was that most ‘addicts’ who were given the morphine for injuries would self-wean as their need for pain relief waned, and that heroin is much more ‘addictive’ because of the intensity of the experience.(I’m told)

      • Windy

        A Nam vet friend of mine said he completely understood how people get addicted to heroin when he tried it in Nam, he said it makes you so sick coming down off the drug that you want to do more to feel better, again, and next thing you know you’re totally hooked.

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