Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The thing is, no new variants have been permitted for sale since the Act came in. It specifically prevents them.

    Could “time” be the variant. As is with addiction for other drugs. For most drugs it’s over time that dependence occurs. Could the synthetics have taken their toll over time. What is the age of those that occur in the spike Dunne talks of?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Well you don't know because there's no consistent analysis of product content!

    Recommend
    www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/26/hidden-dangers-of-legal-highs

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    the spike...

    "When I put a spike into my vein
    Then I tell you things aren't quite the same
    When I'm rushing on my run
    And I feel just like Jesus' son
    And I guess I just don't know
    And I guess that I just don't know

    I have made very big decision
    I'm goin' to try to nullify my life..."

    Heroin - Lou Reed

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to debunk,

    Well you don’t know because there’s no consistent analysis of product content!

    Yes. There. Is.

    The Code of Manufacturing Practice specified in the Act came into force in January. It also mandates audits of manufacturing premises and physical inspections at any time. Certificates of analysis are required for every product as a condition of approval.

    If any manufacturer breaches the conditions for approval, they’re up for a $500,000 fine and three months’ imprisonment.

    The aim of the law is precisely to address the problems cited in that Guardian story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Comment on Pam Corkery's article in today's NZ Herald "Dunne connection demands grilling" by one jerome buckleigh at 12.55PM Wednesday 23 Apr 2014

    "I was at a party in Titirangi two years ago and met Matt Bowden who informed me that Dunne's son was writing legislation for legal highs and that Bowden had input."

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    If I could be particular again.

    The synthetic cannabis drama has a basis in the work of Jon W Huffman, hence the compounds JWH -018 and JWH-398 etc found in legal highs. In fact there are around 460 of these JWH compounds.

    This link is an interview with Huffman, please take the time to read it.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/28/nation/la-na-killer-weed-20110928

    In the article the following is noted:

    "From 1984 until early this year, Huffman and his team at Clemson created 460 synthetic cannabinoid compounds for tests on lab animals. Under a $2-million federal drug grant, they studied the interaction between drugs and brain receptors.
    "These receptors don't exist so that people can smoke marijuana and get high," Huffman said. "They play a role in regulating appetite, nausea, mood, pain and inflammation."
    Synthetic cannabinoids are structurally different from THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. But they have the same biological effects on the human body, which is why they are useful in research.
    In tests on lab animals, some have shown promise in developing treatments for pain and inflammation and some skin cancers, Huffman said.
    But because of their powerful effects on brain receptors, it's extremely risky to ingest them.
    "These things are dangerous — anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette," Huffman said. "They have profound psychological effects. We never intended them for human consumption."
    But after Huffman's team published its work, opportunists who saw a ready market in stoners seeking stronger highs grabbed the formulas. They mixed the pale, amber, gummy compounds with benign herbs to resemble marijuana.

    Huffman said he first got calls in early 2009 about head shops selling products based on his formulas."

    And

    "If the Department of Health and Human Services recommends outlawing the five listed cannabinoids, they would remain illegal for six months. The DEA would then begin public notices and other bureaucratic procedures to permanently outlaw them. Steps to make other cannabinoids illegal could follow.
    Huffman supports banning them. But he also favors legalizing and taxing marijuana.
    "You can't overdose on marijuana, but you might on these compounds," he said. "These things are dangerous, and marijuana isn't, really."

    Huffman recently retired from Clemson, but keeps an office at the university. He mainly spends his days in the idyllic hamlet of Sylva, where his back porch offers spectacular mountain views. He still gets phone calls "from little papers in East Podunk, Ark.," he said, asking about the potent fake pot he supposedly invented.
    Huffman's real scientific legacy is his research on brain and central nervous system receptors. If you want to talk about "really good stuff," he said, consider JWH-133, another compound his team created.
    "It's the best stuff we've done in terms of scientific value," he said.
    The compound has been shown, in mice, to shrink brain tumors and lead to regression of non-melanoma skin cancers, suggesting a potential use in chemotherapy."


    So why in New Zealand do we have products on shelves for compounds, that the man who created them, would not injest himself or encourage others to do so? How can the Health Department give even “interim” approval for their use – when the basic science that created them doesn’t have them in a state for human consumption?

    It seems to me, that in our small country there is no way some fly-by-nite company such as Stargate, could ever do enough research to prove, for example that a certain JWH compound was risk free. I don’t see how the health department can even administer the act let alone consider applications under the PS Act – it just has no idea. For example the NZ Police can even hoodwink the health department when they manipulate the health departments own statistics (Maxwell report).

    Huffman himself says better to legalise cannabis and ban the synthetics.

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Shulgin,

    Huffman himself says better to legalise cannabis and ban the synthetics.

    Which solves the cannabis niche, but not the next lot of party pills.

    It’s interesting that if you read the Erowid vault on Cannbinoid Receptor Agonists, most of the psychonauts there are consuming them not as a mock-cannabis product, but as powders. We could have had JWH 018 pills.

    In the long run, some form of manufacturing standard seems to me to be a good way around the risks of so-called "E" and "LSD" containing unknown substances in unknown concentrations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    “In the long run, some form of manufacturing standard seems to me to be a good way around the risks of so-called “E” and “LSD” containing unknown substances in unknown concentrations.”

    In reply to RB…tongue in cheek….of course and seeing Prof Nutt said horse riding was more dangerous than taking E….perhaps we should be getting the capital to set up the trails…oops trials...imagine the headlines….New Zealand “e” capital of the world, ….actually do Class A materials come under the act? And anyway if Roche can hoodwink governments into stocking top shelf “tamiflu” then I suppose anything is possible, even with products out of the best fordist standardized labs.

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Yes awl right ;)
    Neil Young.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    Sacked government drug adviser David Nutt talks to Sky News

    Professor David Nutt asked to resign after his claims that ecstasy is no more harmful than horse-riding and that cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol or nicotine.

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Shulgin,

    In reply to RB…tongue in cheek….of course and seeing Prof Nutt said horse riding was more dangerous than taking E…

    I like Ed Hilary's Idea that risking your life, providing it is only your life, in the pursuit of personal growth is admirable. But just putting your life on the line is foolish.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Shulgin,

    They play a role in regulating appetite, nausea, mood, pain and inflammation.

    Inflammation? I'd love to know more about that. References anyone?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Prof Nutt is devising an "intoxicating cocktail..aimed at people who want to drink responsibly" ...

    www.guardian.com/society/david-nutt-drink-alcohol-substitute-safer-intoxicant

    Twit.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    the point...about horse riding and JWH compounds...is that.... in some/most ways it is okay to smoke and eat.... untested cancer compounds/drugs here in New Zealand...because they are "legal" highs and we have an innovative act by a mad christian....just give me the horse.... john wayne style...lets get a posse..... and head into town,,,,, partner....this is about sorting "our" thinking on drugs...spur digs into the flesh....yeeha

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Jon W Huffman

    I know it is venturing into Paul Henry name-calling territory,
    but isn't that a fine example of Nominative Determinism...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    “They play a role in regulating appetite, nausea, mood, pain and inflammation.”

    Maybe these substances are also akin to a computer virus like Stuxnet, in that they take over control systems then flood them with bad information, and can turn them on and off at random or leave them spasming with mixed signals… of which pleasure may be one.

    I am not a virus,
    I am a free radical….

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sacha,

    Inflammation? I’d love to know more about that. References anyone?

    Prostaglandin
    and
    JWH 133
    might help...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    in reply to Ian D....normative determinism....

    hufffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

    away....................

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/video/legalize-real-pot-fake-pot-inventor-13782954

    Legalize Real Pot, Says Fake Pot Inventor

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Virginia Brooks,

    Keep up the debate everyone and thanks Russell for creating a space to do it in. Thanks Ross Bell for your opinion piece in this mornings herald and Shulgin for your insight.

    What I would really like to know is - can anyone tell me - do we have anywhere in NZ where synthetics can be analysed and their content quickly identified? Like maybe even an amnesty box system as used in Manchester's Warehouse Project:

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/01/drug-testing-warehouse-project-nightclub

    The data yielded could be used to track what chemical compounds are in use - both those approved for use by the psychoactive bill and those on the black market.

    The info could be used to enable GP's and hospitals to quickly identify what chemicals are in a users system and to administer treatment. The data could also be used for education purposes and harm prevention strategies. For example, info re bad batches of synthetic LSD can be circulated informally. As in look out for this, you'll recognise it by ...

    Right now so much data is being ignored / lost. Many people may have psychoactive substances in their possession which they would happily get donate to get tested (on an amnesty basis) to find out exactly what the f is in that stuff.

    I also read somewhere on the net a while back - cant find the article now - but someone else might know about it - about a psychopharmacologist who operates an amnesty system in the UK - anyone can donate any street drugs (plus they are collected from rubbish bins after concerts, dance parties, events, etc). He analyses all samples and keeps a massive comprehensive data base - which medical professionals can access. It enables informal tracking of just what the heck is out there and developing. Not from a policing point of view but from an information perspective. Has anyone else heard about this? Because its a great idea.

    So someone please tell me, do we have an equivalent system in NZ ???
    And if not, can we cut thru the red tape and make it happen?

    Since Jun 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Virginia Brooks, in reply to Shulgin,

    Re the vaporising blends - thanks for bringing it up because it's a major problem that's barely begun showing impact here but it will, I'm sure.
    There are the vape blends with illegal nicotine content, but also vape blends containing synthetic psychoactives.
    Stargate products are out there but also black market products which are not tested under the psychoactive substances act.
    Again, if someone wanted to donate vape products for analysis - and share this info with health professionals - where can you do this?

    Since Jun 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    The UK toxocologist John Ramsey "has spent decades collecting more than 27,000 samples of narcotics" etc (www.theguardian,com/society/2013/apr/26/hidden-dangers-of-legal-highs)..tho apparently his test conditions are pretty old so its not a "government" programme. The NZ Poisons Centre, though apparently based in the Pharmacology Department at Otago Medical School does not appear to do these tests and the Ministry of Health sent the Kronic one to ESR and the Expert-Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) which "undertook a preliminary assessment" and found JWH-018 -- this info on Ministry pages. So does not look as though there are facilities to do quick or thorough testing of novel "psychoactives" and the Ramsey tests seem to be a personal interest by an independent toxicologist - as described in this Guardian article.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Suspect an interested analytical organic chemist in the universities is needed with a PhD starter looking for a topic. Psychopharmacologists are increasingly calling themselves "neuroscientists" and preoccupied with brain scanning - where all the research funds are going esp in the USA. And they (we) generally look at the effects of psychotropic drugs rather than the composition..few are medically trained - in which case they are clinical pharmacologists. Lot of $$ involved to set up a laboratory with the required skills.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    vape products

    Not just for aromatherapy then?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell, in reply to Virginia Brooks,

    Hi Virginia, no NZ doesn’t have a system like this. ESR does test drugs seized by Customs and Police, but that information is used as evidence for prosecutions and not shared with the health sector/users themselves. There are good mdoels offshore like the one you mention. We were in Vienna recently, and are publishing a story on a great service called Check It.

    The closest we have in NZ is the brilliant website Tripme, which is a peer-to-peer drug info service: “Don’t take the red pill.” Russell is also writing about this for our magazine.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Russell is also writing about this for our magazine.

    I can’t wait for that story to be published, so I can use the full interview I did with the founders of Erowid.

    One of the interesting things about that story is what Stuart Mills, co-ordinator of the police's drug intelligence bureau, had to say about TripMe et al. The police read those sites, but not for investigative purposes. DI Mills told me he regards them as basically educational.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

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