Tag Archives | spice

‘Our purity is above 99%’: the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west


Raquel Baranow (CC BY 2.0)

As Western governments play a futile game of whack-a-mole with legal drugs, chemists in China are consistently synthesizing new, legal compounds to sell.

Nicola Davison via The Guardian:

The mass production of legal highs began only in 2008, when UN drugs officials destroyed 33 tonnes of safrole oil, a precursor of MDMA, in Cambodia.

As MDMA stocks in Europe dwindled, suppliers shopped around for an alternative – and found mephedrone, a substance that was chemically similar to MDMA but not controlled in the UK. For the two years before it was banned, users could not get enough of this cheap, cocaine-meets-ecstasy high.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer originally developed synthetic cannabinoids – drugs designed to mimic the effect of cannabis – as research tools to investigate the mechanisms of the brain’s endocannabinoid system for clinical therapy.

Vendors began trawling obscure scientific journals for compounds, consumers described their highs on online drug forums, and the nascent market took shape.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The War on Drugs Dropped the N-Bomb on America

The DEA is racing to ban the latest newcomer to the synthetic drug scene which includes Spice and the now infamous “bath salts.” Known as N-Bomb or Smiles, the new designer drug supposedly mimics the effects of LSD. Unlike LSD, however, the chemicals 2C-1-NBOMe or 251NBOMe which make up this new drug appear potentially deadly.

St. Louis Post Dispatch:

According to media reports, the drug was banned in Virginia last year and later outlawed in Louisiana after a 21-year-old man died at a New Orleans music festival in November. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported a man apparently took N-Bomb from a stranger, began convulsing and died a short time later.

A 21-year-old man Texas man died after taking the drug at a party in June, according to the Houston Chonicle.

With drug makers tweaking their chemicals faster than drug laws can be implemented, resulting in untested and potentially hazardous new substances reaching the public at unprecedented speed, isn’t it time to change our focus to one of harm reduction rather than the disastrously ineffective criminal model?… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Curry Powder Molecules Used For ‘Explosives Detection’


Photo: Thomas Steiner (CC)

It’s colorful, delicious, full of antioxidant properties and can now detect explosives. BBC reports:

The main chemical in the curry spice turmeric could be the basis for cheap explosives detectors, say researchers.

The curcumin molecule is already well-known in medicine for its anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.

Now, research presented at the American Physical Society meeting suggests it could replace more complex solutions to spot explosives like TNT.

As it gathers molecules of explosive material in air, changes in its light-emitting properties can be measured.

This “fluorescence spectroscopy” is already employed in a wide array of sensing and analysis techniques.

[Continues at BBC]

Read the rest

Continue Reading