- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2018


Friday is 4/20 Day. Weed Day. Beware, however.

A bulletin last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was fairly direct: “89 in Illinois, 2 in Indiana, 1 in Maryland, 1 in Missouri, and 1 in Wisconsin” cases of fake weed laced with rat poison. This week brought death tolls and debilitating injuries.

People were arriving in hospital emergency rooms with bleeding eyes and severe nose bleeds, and kidney failure resulting from brodifacoum entering the bloodstream and inhibiting the body’s ability to clot blood.

A common use for brodifacoum is rat poison.

The connection to human consumption is fake weed.

See where we’re heading?

Fake weed is commonly referred to in the media as “synthetic marijuana.”

There’s no Mary Jane in “synthetic marijuana.”

There’s no peace or love in smoking “synthetic marijuana.”

There’s no medicinal benefits to smoking or eating “synthetic marijuana.” In fact, when health officials and law enforcers in Colorado grew concerned about nearly 50 overdoses connected to fake weed in summer of 2013, the CDC said this: “Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug that does not contain marijuana but rather contains any of a variety of plants sprayed with laboratory-produced chemicals.”

Ironically, bona fide laboratories and chemicals for such designer drugs as “synthetic marijuana” were first developed by John William Huffman. A professor emeritus of organic chemistry at Clemson University, he and his team developed 450 synthetic cannabinoid compounds for research of HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy. The intent of the research was to discover what effect synthetic cannabinoids would have on the brain and other organ receptors (and now we know and are learning more).

The professor’s work was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the project, which began in 1984, lasted for two decades.

That’s the back story, and here’s the professor’s own commentary.

“I figured once it got started in Germany it was going to spread. I’m concerned that it could hurt people,” Mr. Huffman said. “I think this was something that was more or less inevitable. It bothers me that people are so stupid as to use this stuff.”

Stupid, ignorant, hopeless, naive, desperate, suicidal. Choose one or all.

That people are dying because we refuse to face facts is stupid indeed.

Synthetic cannabinoid is a wicked designer drug that can smell as warm as oregano, as pungent as an ancient incense or as sweet as an American Beauty rose.

Yet, its street names reveal its intent — AK-47, Black Widow, Revolver and Zombie Killa. Most law enforcement authorities have familiarized themselves with the most common U.S. varieties, K2 and Spice, but there are at least 700 varieties around the globe.

And just so you know, fake weed killed three people in Baltimore and three in Illinois, and scores were bleeders. Also, a 71-year-old Illinois shopkeeper is behind bars for hustling K2.

For those of you in still denial, think of the fake weed problem this way. Lots of hustlers knock off Chanel, Steve Madden and Jimmy Choo and give you a discount. And while those products might look like the real thing, they aren’t because they’re not made by Chanel, Steve Madden or Jimmy Choo.

Fake is fake, and we shouldn’t need Cheech or Chong to warn stupid people of the dangers.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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