For those familiar with Facebook you'll know that on the right hand side of the home page is space allotted for advertisements. Last week one promoting the Facebook page for "The IZMS" caught my attention so I did what any well informed mama would do and used that ad (under Fair Use, of course) to warn others: "Don't take this fake shit! It is synthetic, a dangerous man-made abomination not meant for human consumption!"
Today I was not surprised when a Canadian news station ran this "Parents Beware!" story with accompanying video about a youth taken to the hospital from "Synthetic Marijuana": Drug alert: THC-laced lollipop lands teen in hospital The story was also posted on their Facebook Page here.
While I was very disappointed at the "scary THC!" headline and the fact that nowhere in this video did the reporter, doctor, or police officer inform people that this chemical shitstorm stuffed into a lollipop is very different from real cannabis, I was at least thankful for a spotlight being shone on these dangerous "Legals", as some people call them. These products with names like K2, Spice and the above mentioned "IZMS" are man-made, sprayed and laced with who knows what additives and other than the fact that they're smoked the similarities pretty much end there.
Now I'm not saying that cannabis is 100% completely harmless for every single person but from the reactions reported from the "fake weed" it is safe to say that all natural Mother Nature made cannabis is exponentially safer by leaps and bounds. Cannabis' safety record is one of the reasons it has been utilized by humans for thousands upon thousands of years.
Regardless of their different monikers, man-made synthetic (JWH-018) "herbal blends" are NOT natural cannabis/marijuana/hemp and should not be compared to the real, non-toxic plant. There has never been one recorded death from Cannabis. In fact, according to the LD-50 rating system in order to induce a toxic response from Cannabis use only, a person would have to ingest approximately 1500 pounds of it within 15 minutes.
Admittedly cannabis is not for everyone - just like peanuts, lactose or gluten. But don't you think we need to educate people about the verified possible side effects instead of letting rhetoric and propaganda muddy the waters so much that kids don't know what to believe? When real facts about nicotine cigarettes were given smoking rates went down, all without a prohibition or arresting a single person. Also, pot dealers don't ask teens for ID like the LCBO does which translates into restricting access to minors.
I am a parent myself and do not want my kids to ever touch this fake stuff because through my research I have come to the conclusion that it is very dangerous. This currently legal stuff is being mass produced and people are using this instead of natural cannabis because it is legal. (While banned in a few places, makers just tweak the chemical compositions and BAM! - they now have a new drug to sell which hasn't been prohibited.)
I had first researched "synthetic weed" when I discovered people were using it to avoid arrest and beat employee drug tests. (Thanks, Prohibition!) As someone who writes about drug policy I believe it is imperative to be truthful and not misinform. Having said that I have provided some info and links from many different websites not to scare you, but so more people can read about synthetic herbal blends and become more knowledgeable regarding this "ImPOTster". I hope this information helps, I would honestly hate to hear of anyone else being harmed by one of these brands.
In my honest opinion the best thing we can do to address this problem is to re-legalize Cannabis, once people can freely and responsibly use the real thing without fear then products like IZMS will fall out of favour and become obsolete.
Ain't nothing like the real thing!
There’s a New Brand of Synthetic Pot on the Market: http://riddellcreative.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/high-on-the-izms/Fake Pot Cited as Cause in 16 Cases of Kidney Damage
|Graphic via To The The Maximus Foundation|
("Click" to enlarge)
Synthetic Cannabinoid Exposures Reported to Texas Poison Centers
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 6,959 calls nationwide related to adverse effects associated with "fake pot" compounds in 2011, nearly 2.4 times the amount of calls in 2010.
Health effects from the drug can be life-threatening and can include:
-Severe agitation and anxiety.
-Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure.
-Nausea and vomiting.
-Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors.
-Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
-Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions.
Update 10/30/2013: Izms Boss Gets Busted
'Fake weed' CEO Adam Wookey charged in $2M drug bust
via CBC News - "The head of a synthetic marijuana company whose product was being sold in Hamilton is in trouble with the law again after a $2-million drug bust.
Toronto police arrested Adam Wookey, 29, of Toronto, on Monday along with four others. The CEO of the Izms and PurePillz companies is now facing a host of drug-related charges."
Here is the comment I left where the story was cross-posted at the Huffington Post:
As an advocate for the legalization and regulation of Cannabis for adults I am thankful for this development. I'd like to state that we must stop calling products like The Izms "fake pot", "fake marijuana", "synthetic marijuana" etc. These man-made concoctions are nothing like natural cannabis and should be avoided at all costs.
The popularity of these licit "ImPOTsters" is a direct result of our innate utilization of the now prohibited cannabis plant. Humans have used cannabis for thousands upon thousands of years, just because it is deemed illegal does not remove our affinity for it, hence our continued growth and use of it for medicine and recreation/relaxation regardless of its legal status.
Once re-legalized, quality tested and regulated for sale; all-natural weed will obliterate this fake crap out of existence. Until then I support leo's shutting down its production. I know Mr. Wookey hasn't been charged for selling the Izms but I admit I am thankful that his arrest may lead to his product being shelved for good.