A reader writes:

There are several forums that extensively cover the topic of the various synthetic cannabinoids.  The type of "review" you posted is quite unusual in the very large body of discourse about these drugs. The "pot is a miracle drug" die-hards primarily post such reviews, typically after having paid absolutely no attention to simple rules of use (for instance, you don't pack a huge bowl of synthetics and smoke it all at once, as anyone with even a casual interest in researching what they're going to use would have seen).

As someone who has used a wide variety of herbal blends (substrate sprayed with various synthetic cannabinoids), as well as the raw synthetics themselves, I want to counter your reader with the following:

1.  Yes, synthetic cannabinoids can be less forgiving.  However, the side effects are little different than for pot.  The difference lies in the strength of some cannabinoids, specifically the popular JWH-018.  This has a propensity to send an unwary user into a panic attack that can be quite uncomfortable, but which can also be achieved on cannabis itself.  Simple attention to usage helps to avoid this.

2.  Many other cannabinoids have little such "danger" (and I object to the word "danger" here; this is the same type of language that pot die-hards complain about when others apply it to pot).  JWH-250, for example, packs a significant head high and can be used in much larger and more forgiving dosages.  It is difficult to use "too much," and the duration is between 15 and 30 minutes.  When an "OD" can take place, it is significantly different than for JWH-018 (which is what is in virtually all herbal blends talked about on your blog) due to the difference in the way it interacts with receptors.

3.  Anyone claiming there are not powerful strains of pot that would blow a first-time user's mind is lying.  Anything that can "happen to you" on synthetics can also happen on pot.  As above, pot is simply more forgiving (although it's worth pointing out that many people eventually stop using pot, or simply never take up its regular use, because of paranoia and/or anxiety stemming from its use).

4.  Just as many people were "not sure what the big deal was" the first time they smoked pot, synthetics often take some time to acclimate to.  There are several synthetics I absolutely did not enjoy until I had used them approximately five times over the course of 7 to 10 days, after which they took on a much more robust quality.  Learning how to embrace the high applies as much to these as it does with pot.  I hated JWH-250 initially, for example, but it's now easily my favorite synthetic, and it as well as JWH-081 (not JWH-018) are better than 90% of the pot I've tried.  (And I've tried a lot of good pot.)

Another writes:

Your reader condemned the "herbal incense" high as something dangerous and unpleasant after trying it twice - once while exacerbating the high with alcohol. And at $15 per gram? That's the cheapest shit out there.

I've used herbal incense to get high for over a year now and have tried many different varieties ... some are better than pot and some are worse. I've found a brand that works well for me and I thoroughly enjoy it. It brings me a sense of calm and also enhances my creative side. I am always pleasantly surprised at the places my mind wanders while I'm high.

If marijuana were legal, I would smoke it. But it's not and I don't. I have smoked it in the past, but my happy, average, mid-class existence would cease if I brought legal troubles on myself. Plus, my live-in boyfriend is a cop, so I would never put his career in jeopardy just to indulge. I look forward to the day with MJ is legal again, but for now, the legal herbals work just fine with a little trial and error.

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