Fake Pot Inventor Says His Product is for Dorks
Before we let this K2/Spice/fake pot thing go (it’s been banned in Pennsylvania since August, though new products are already moving in the gas station drug market) we need to note that the guy who invented it, 79-year-old John W. Huffman, thinks that anyone who smokes one of the 400 “synthetic cannabinoids” he discovered isn’t exactly the pick of the litter.
“These things are dangerous — anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette,” Huffman told the LA Times during a recent interview. “They have profound psychological effects. We never intended them for human consumption.”
Huffman is a badass organic chemistry professor who spent years at Clemson University studying the interaction between drugs and brain receptors. Since 1984, he’s been torturing “lab animals” with his chemicals, funded by federal grant money. That led to his discovery of the cannabinoid chemicals you now know as K2 and Spice. Then head shop kids and others whose meth labs had burned down one-too-many motels decided it could be sprayed onto green stuff that looks like pot, given a name, and be smoked like pot, which is pretty sweet if you and your weed dealer had a falling out, or if you just never got around to meeting weed or cocaine distributors after middle school.
Huffman says he’s disappointed in what’s become of his compounds. And a little annoyed at all the negative press he’s gotten the world over (Russian and British media have called him out on numerous occasions). Seems as though every time a young couple neglects their infant for days on end because they’re trying to eat through the walls, or when Miley Cyrus smokes the stuff on YouTube, Huffman gets blamed.
“I always had a hunch that someday somebody would say: ‘Hey, let’s try smoking them.’ And lo and behold, that’s what happened,” he said.
Huffman said other cannabinoids among the 460 are very difficult to make, even for scientists. But the three of his compounds outlawed by the DEA — especially JWH-018 — are easily produced.
“You can make them in two steps from commonly available starting materials, which is why people jumped on these ones,” Huffman said.
Most of the chemicals are imported from overseas manufacturers — especially in China — but underground labs in the U.S. increasingly are producing and synthesizing them, said Payne, the DEA spokesman.
Synthetic pot was on the radar of several Pennsylvania news outlets and legislators for the past few years, as unfit parents and kids alike abused the drug, sold at their local convenience store or gas station. Out in Pennsyltucky, a pair of parents were once mistaken by their neighbors for zombies, leaping from roof to roof while high, and by the time the stuff was banned and signed by Governor Tom Corbett, it was one of these things people like to call “bipartisan legislation,” or something.