A reader writes:
Regarding your reader's comments about JWH-018, a fellow journalist and I were doing some research on a story about how this so-called legal cannabis is manufactured and distributed. We discovered that anyone, even a kid, could buy the stuff at a dozen or more places within 1,000 yards of Fort Hood. It was absolutely all over Killeen, Texas, much like many military towns, because authorities are not testing for it. The town has since banned it. (But when I say "it", I mean the most popular brand, "K2". There's a hundred other varieties.)
We also talked to people who overdosed on the stuff and it is absolutely not safe.
What's worse, it's not the only popular test chemical out there; there's variations on ecstasy, LSD and cocaine too, and even less is known about those. I've personally been inside a lab at an apartment where these legal products were being made, and lemme tell you, a sane person really wouldn't want to eat that sausage once they've seen how it's cranked out.
While there are plenty of crappy legal cannabis alternatives, there are a few good ones that are completely natural. One I'd recommend is "Kanna" (Sceletium tortuosum), a South African herb used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes. It is one of the few natural SSRIs (serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). It's an excellent mood elevator, appetite suppressant, and in larger doses it induces euphoria. It's a different high than cannabis, but in many ways an excellent one, and better for socialization, since it's classified as an empathogen.
Nor does it need to be taken in euphoric doses to be effective. In fact, for a lot of people a small dose is the best. It is non-toxic and there are no known dangerous side effects, regardless of dosage, nor is it hallucinogenic (for most people). The primary effects are simply relaxation, calm, enhanced perception, emotional engagement, and mild euphoria. Vivid dreams are often reported. Using multiple and increasing doses to extend a session too far can lead to a reversal of the positive effects, so simply use it moderately and learn your limits.
It can be smoked for immediate effect, used as a tincture or tea for longer-lasting effects, or chewed if one wants to emulate the aboriginal tradition. It's perfectly legal, and patentable analogs of it have been used in pharmacological anti-depressants for many years. But the original plant is superior, I think.
I'd recommend it to anyone, especially those with mild symptoms of depression or anxiety. You can also use it in conjunction with cannabis for magnified effects. Don't use too much cannabis, however, or it will wash out the kanna effects. Occasional use is best, as tolerance builds up quickly, but 3-4 days of break time is plenty before using it again to get full effects.