A new report from the CDC discusses 16 cases of acute kidney damaged linket to the smoking of synthetic marijuana. Most likely linked to the novel fluorinated analog of UR-144 known as XLR-11.
A little background on synthetic cannabis:
It is generally a base of inert herbs that has been soaked or sprayed with a synthetic cannabinoid. There are hundreds, if not thousands of synthetic cannabinoids.
Like UR-144, which was initially developed by AbbotT Laboratories most synthetic cannabinoids were originally invented by pharmaceutical companies or university researchers to study the pharmacology of the brains cannabinoid receptors. They can be agonists or antagonists of either, or both the cb1 and cb2 receptors.
In europe in 2005 these products showed up on the market as “legal” cannabis alternatives. They exploded in the US around 2009.
Originally the chemicals used in creating these products had been well studied. Maybe not in human trials but there was a strong body of research on them.
But then the lawmakers got involved, and so began the game of whack-a-mole. Despite countries banning chemical after chemical this was, after all, a multi-million dollar market. So the manufacturers simply moved on down the chain of less and less known and researched synthetic cannabinoids.
Which is the same cycle we have seen with a number of classes of synthetic drugs in recent years. People looking for a “legal” alternative to the classic banned drugs (drugs which may or may not be safer, but whose risks and long term effects are pretty well known from decades or thousands of years of human use). So people look to the research for drugs that may prove interesting, generally starting with the most researched and understood. And as the drugs gain popularity, then are banned, they simply move deeper down the line.
By and large people are looking for alternatives to the big 3- marijuana, LSD, and MDMA (ecstasy). 3 of the safer drugs known to man, and all 3 safer then alcohol or tobacco.
Yet once again we see the failures of prohibition. The failure of the drug war. And indeed- the blind prohibition of the innate human desire to alter their consciousness doing more harm then good.