Legal but Dangerous: Synthetic drug causing problems in Casa Grande

The “spice” container reads: “Warning This Product is Not For Human Consumption.” It’s marketed as incense, herbs or potpourri, but you won’t find it at your local home or candle store. You’ll find this spice at the local convenience and liquor stores, gas stations and smoke shops.The problem with this dangerous drug is so big that President Barack Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 in early July. The law bans synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs like “bath salts,” which are commonly sold as plant food. They have nothing in common with the toiletries used to soften skin.

But the manufacturers simply change the formula slightly to stay one step ahead of the law.

No numbers are yet available for emergency calls resulting from using spice, but the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported more than 6,100 emergency calls about bath salt drugs in 2011 — up from just 304 in 2010 — and more than 1,700 calls in the first half of 2012.

What exactly is spice?

“People say that it’s synthetic marijuana,” said Cindy Schaider, executive director of the Casa Grande Alliance. “It’s not marijuana — in fact that’s part of the danger. People in the first place erroneously believe marijuana is safe — which it’s not — but then if marijuana is safe, then synthetic marijuana would be safe. Neither one is safe, but spice is a really dangerous drug.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines spice as a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug.

Spice looks like dried grass clippings or shredded plant materials, but it contains chemical additives responsible for mind-altering effects that have been linked to violent behavior across the United States.

According to the National Association for Addiction Professionals, there are two receptors in the human brain that react to cannabinoids. One reduces pain and the other allows people to “get high.” Synthetic or natural substances used to get high can have many other effects on humans: severe anxiety, panic attacks, disassociation, racing thoughts, hallucinations, rapid pulse (tachycardia) and death/suicide.

“The chemical in marijuana stimulates the part of the brain called the cannabinoid receptor and that is what gives them the feeling of intoxication,” Schaider said. “Spice has synthetically created a similar chemical — they spray it on these leaves so when you smoke it, it stimulates that part of your brain.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was able to get five of the major chemicals banned for a one-year period but companies that produce spice are constantly reformulating the chemicals to stay one step ahead of law enforcement.

What smokers say

It’s legal to buy yet everyone I interviewed didn’t want to provide a real name.

“James,” 45, smokes spice every day. “I’ve been smoking it for a couple years — it’s off the chain!” James said. “It’s awesome — for one thing it doesn’t show up on my job’s drug screen. I operate heavy equipment and am drug tested frequently.” James was constantly shifting and appeared nervous, while beads of sweat appeared on his face, despite the fact the interview was conducted in an air-conditioned building.

“You get the same effect as marijuana but you don’t get as sleepy or hallucinate — you get a high but it stops sooner — you stay high for an hour or two. I roll mine in a flavored blunt — try to cover up the taste.”


Mom, 40, and Daughter, 19, smoke spice together. This particular day they bought 10 grams of spice, the volume equivalent of $30 in marijuana. “We smoke spice because marijuana is too expensive,” they said.

Mom works in the behavioral health department at a Florence correctional facility. “Not only that but my job drug screens and this isn’t detectable. I’m a little scared and nervous about the things I’ve heard about it though,” she said.

“How people are ending up in diapers or losing their hair or have internal bleeding.” But that doesn’t stop them from using it. “It’s almost the equivalent of smoking marijuana,” Mom said. “Except this is a little more intense — it’s a quicker high but it goes away quicker too. There have been times when I smoked it and I’m sitting down — I have to literally think about what I’m going to do even if it’s just to go to the bathroom — I have to plan it out because I feel like I’m about to fall.”

Drivers under the influence of the drug may face charges of driving while impaired, said Officer Thomas Anderson of the Casa Grande Police Department.

Boyfriend, 28, and Girlfriend, 25, smoke spice regularly.

“I’ve smoked it quite a few times,” Boyfriend said. “It gives you a good high for 15 to 20 minutes. I’ve smoked some that has made me hallucinate — pretty wild.”

Girlfriend said she doesn’t believe it makes people sick.

“I think it’s just mass hysteria — it’s the legal way of smoking marijuana,” she said.

“It’s all a conspiracy made up by the government,” said Boyfriend. However, “I heard people died from it — that makes me nervous.”

Why do they sell it?

It’s legal to sell but the store owners don’t want to use their names.

One Casa Grande smoke shop owner said he didn’t know anything about it when asked if it was dangerous.

“It says not for human consumption,” he commented. “You seem to know more than I do about it.” Other questions received an answer of “no comment.”

A spokeswoman at Smoke’m, 1397 E. Florence Blvd., said the store sells spice as “exotic potpourri.” She said people are using it as synthetic marijuana. Her store doesn’t advertise the product and keeps it hidden behind the counter because children sometimes come into the store with parents.

“It’s [spice] not for human consumption — but it’s in my top six sellers — it’s very common. One of my employees got sick off the old stuff and he had to take a couple of days off from work — flu-like symptoms — it’s not for human consumption,” she said. The owner said she believes the drug will become illegal to sell eventually.

An employee at a liquor store in Casa Grande said she wouldn’t smoke it. She said the store has at least three regular customers, including one man who buys $30 a day in spice — that’s $900 per month.

All the stores I spoke with said they only sell the second generation of spice. However, one customer said he knew of one store that still had the original stuff — you just need to know how to ask for it.

After the first generation of spice and its chemical makeup were made illegal, developers of the product tweaked the molecular structure to avoid prosecution.

One family’s experience

Joe Rodriguez, 46, of Stanfield said he found out his 25-year-old son was smoking spice in November 2011.

“I didn’t know until I went through his room and found a little jar with a screw-on lid,” Rodriguez said. “I asked him, what is this?”

The son told him it was a legal form of cannabis since he couldn’t smoke pot at work due to drug testing.

Rodriguez said he noticed his son’s habits change — from the way he dressed to cleaning up his room.

“Stuff around the house started coming up missing — a PS3 I won at work, a watch and some other stuff,” he said. “I don’t know what he did with it — he just said he needed it. He acted totally different.”

The son had graduated from college with a computer science degree.

“This was a kid who could sit down, look at a computer and say ‘this is the problem’ without even touching it and now he’s forgetting it. My son taught me how to use a computer — he knows how to break them down, he knows code, he knows DOS. If you would have met him before he started smoking spice, he was respectful and a good kid.”

The son is now in the county jail on a misdemeanor charge for failure to appear in court. Rodriguez said one night his son got so angry he threw a speaker at his face, causing Rodriguez to need medical attention under his right eye. The son is scheduled to be released from jail later this month.

“Now he thinks somebody is following him, somebody’s bugging the house — he’s just paranoid,” he said. “This kid used to build robots in high school — this kid was smart.”

Rodriguez is worried the drug caused some permanent damage to his son.

“I know he’s not going to be the same,” he said. “But I’m hoping that he’ll stop it and move forward with his life because he’s a good kid.”

Affecting the community

“I’m really concerned about spice,” Schaider said. “We are part of the Pinal County Substance Abuse Council and put out a brochure each year about drug trends. This year our brochure is about spice and it’s perfectly legal to buy spice.”

Most employers screen with a general five-panel test, referred to as a NIDA-5. This standard test provides rapid results if marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP) are detected in the urine.

Donna McBride, spokeswoman for Pinal County Juvenile Court Services, said that last year the county was offered free testing for spice for all probationers.

“The numbers were quite high,” she said. “There is a specific test for spice — it’s quite frankly rather costly. If we have a probation officer that suspects a kid might be using this stuff, then they can request an additional testing.”

“When we test­ — we find kids using because it’s easily accessible,” she said. “Have we seen it increase? Yes, because it’s like a new fad — something that kids are going to gravitate toward — something new to try.”

McBride said that if the test comes back positive for spice, the probation officer sits down with the juvenile and the family to discuss counseling information and come up with a plan to help the juvenile. The juvenile is retested at a later date and faces consequences if the result is positive.

“If we start with this town, this county — and stop the sale of it,” Rodriguez said. “These kids are not going to drive to Phoenix to go get it. We can put a dent in stopping them from ruining our kids’ lives — or anybody’s lives.”

McBride offered up one way for the community to be more responsible.

“If you’re a business owner and you do drug testing, make sure that your drug test includes those drugs that are pertinent to our area, which includes spice and bath salts,” she said.

Bath Salts Problem Grows, Drug Counselors Say They Have Their Hands Full


The drug landscape is changing all across the country.  No longer are people just relying on what comes from the Earth.

They’re smoking, inhaling and shooting what chemists make in the lab.  They’re producing marijuana or bath salts.

There was a major bust around the country by the Drug Enforcement Agency.  Investigators found $59 million worth of synthetic marijuana in the Houston area alone.

It comes in small packets that indicate it’s approved by the DEA. Federal investigators say to laugh at that.

Chris Davis has been a drug counselor at Right Step in Houston for more than a decade.

“It’s up there with methamphetamine and cocaine,” Davis said.

He has 10 people he’s currently working with who are hooked on bath salts, a drug that hit the market about two years ago.

It’s a chemical mix that contains amphetamine-like chemicals and Davis says it’s just as addictive as other drugs like cocaine and the symptoms vary.

“Hallucinations and delusional, it can be very scary they can be very paranoid,” Davis said.  “It’s similar to what could happen to using methamphetamines.”

Davis says he’s glad federal agents on cracking down on the synthetic drugs that have landed in smoke shops around the county.

He says the results have made headlines with zombie like users in Florida.  He says it’s not a drug to take lightly and it’s difficult to shake.

“It takes a longer time for them to stabilize.  It’s pretty tough,” Davis said





Checkmate Herbal Incense Spice Review


Time for a herbal review of this new spice that has come out. Its checkmate herbal spice and it comes in several different grams of your choice.  I am going to give you the low down on this spice.  First its packaged in a sealed baggie that has a checker board background and a huge smiley face yellow in color on the front.  If you look close you can also see a cherry on the package.

We just got this in last night and tried it.  Once we opened the package we were hoping for a great aroma. Matter of fact there was really not any aroma at all.  We were thinking one of two things.


This could be really good, I mean I have smoked several types of herbal spice that the aroma really was strong and smelled horrible.  This was not the case with Checkmate herbal spice.  So we rolled up a fatty and put the flame to the joint of spice.  There was 2 of us smoking this checkmate potpourri for the first time so we are both going to have input on this review.


The effects of the spice we not to bad.  This is a spice that I would say is good for a beginner of herbal products since its not super strong.  We burned the entire fatty of spice between the two of us.  Please keep in mind we smoke spice on a daily bases and I don’t recommend this for first time users or people that don’t smoke a lot since it might effect you differently.


By the time I took the 3rd hit I could already feel the effects of the herbal incense and I would say I hit the spice about 6 times before It was completely gone. The aroma once it was lit was not to bad not to strong.  For sure its not like most spices of herbal incense and kind of a bummer on the scent.


The effects of the checkmate herbal spice lasted about 30 minutes and it was a very mellow high and after the 30 minutes it was super mellow feeling for another 20 minutes or so.


Over all I would have to say this is a very week herbal potpourri spice and that there are so many other spices on the market that really give you a bang for your buck.  I would not be surprised if the manufactures of checkmate spice come out with a 2nd generation spice very soon.


To us its like the spice is lacking something.  I can not really pin point what that is, but I can tell you its not the same extreme high of the other spices. But its not a complete dud either.


So we are giving it a score of 6/10.  Why so high you might ask?  Well we have come across so many other spice that were to strong or have a horrible aroma and this is not a bad spice, just needs a little bit more of a kick to it.


Got to start off with the packaging on this spice.  Rack City Herbal Incense has a FAT ASS on the blends packaging that is for sure.  Now for all you rappers out there, this packaging makes since. I think it is funny as hell nothing like smoking a fat ass to get you high.  Best way i smoke this herbal spice blend is with the opposite sex thats for sure.  I dont think you should sit around with 3 guys and smoke on some rack city just say’n.

Ok enough with the jokes lets get on to this rack city spice review.  This is a pretty new blend that has hit the streets with in the last couple of months.  Really from what we know it has not taken off very well and not alot of people are smoking on it.  We got our hot little hands on a 3 gram bag of it.  Since we are guys first thing we did is call up a couple of our home girl smokers to come over and hit this! – The blend man, the blend!

Did not take long at all for the effects to kick in and it was pretty straight. I would rate it about 6.5/10 over all.  After i smoked it i know why it has not really taken off on the streets.  Reason is that it hits you really fast but the effects do not last long at all. I mean it was only like 15 minutes and it was completely gone.

Now most of the herbal incense blends that i have smoked last about 45 minutes then about an hour of chill time.  So 15 minutes is not cutting it rack city bitch!  For my review i am going to say all this blend has going for it is the packing and the catchy name.  I mean rack city bitch, rack rack city.

But for a herbal potpourri spice, not worth the money. Not when there is other blends out there that are amazing.

Aroma 3/10  Not good.

Lasting 2/10 Weak

Packaging 8/10 Funny as hell, and hey who dont like chicks ass’s?

Scooby Snax Herbal Incense Review

When the Fun Loving Criminals were “Running around robbing banks all wacked off of Scooby Snacks”, I do not think they were thinking of this happy little blend from! Scooby Snax rather should be conjuring up images of food piled high, sharing it with your best bud while trying to avoid as much work as possible! I once tried this product that must have been a bad batch because it ended up leaving an aftertaste of fish behind that was foul. In the interest of science however, I am always willing to try something again, with the optimism that I will be proven wrong. WHEW! I am glad I did… the pre-burnt aroma is fruity, fun- matches the colorful tie-dyed package with Scooby on the front. The herbal blend is fluffy and light, and compacts well into the burner. The blend itself has a few sticks in it, but nothing that would ruin your day.
When lit, the herbal blend gives off copious amounts of thick smoke that is very pleasant and long-lasting. Not harsh at all, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how long each light lasts you- upwards of 20 minutes per light. Beginner to expert incense burners will not be disappointed in this one! There’s no mystery as to why Scooby has that look on his face- this is a fun herbal blend that goes well with music, friends, or just enjoying the little things in life around you.  Any  incense enthusiast could not go wrong adding this to their collection of daily blends. Since the herbal blend they are using seems so fluffy and light, it is an extremely versatile blend for all types of incense burners!

Ingredients Found In K2 Incense

K2 Herbal Incense or “Legal Buds”, have grown to become extremely well-known as legal substitutions for marijuana. With all of the media coverage and news articles on this subject, we all want to know, “What are K2 incense ingredients?”

K2 herbal incense are natural herbal blends that utilize ingredients such as canavalia rosea, clematis nuciferia, heima salicfolia, and ledum palustre. There have been many sources to confirm that  K2 once contained synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 which when burned or smoked can cause similar intoxicating effects similar to cannabis. This synthetic compound does not show up on the standard drug test which has certainly made it a crowd favorite.

These K2 herbal incense products and others are clearly marked, not for human consumption and was developed to be burned and not smoked. There are many cases where users misused these herbal incense products and suffered unwanted side effects.

So what about all of the other products like K2 and Space Cadet?

Despite all of the negative new coverages, the producers of the K2 products continue to state that their products are safe and that no real damage has been done by these products. Knock offs and various low quality herbal blends have began to hit the market at alarming rates. Some of the low quality herbal smoking blends do not list any of their ingredients at all. Whenever you purchase K2 or any other brand of herbal blends for that matter, make sure that you are dealing with a reliable retailer.

What effect does the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 have on the brain?
The synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 was developed by a chemist from Clemson University by the name of John Huffman. This compound was originally developed as a pain reliever and has coined other usages as well.

THC, the main ingredient in marijuana reacts and binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the brain which are associated with pain relief. Huffman’s testing concluded that this compound reacted to the CB1 receptor which is assocciated with phychotrophic effects and not the CB2 receptor which is associated with pain relief. With that being said, these compounds are prone to provide hallucinations and marijuana-like effects but serves no medical purpose at all. This is the main reason that so many officials are looking to keep all products containing these compounds off the market for good.

Facts About K2 Spice Incense

K2 Incense Facts

K2 incense smoke is a natural mixture of botanicals and herbs. Some of the herbs that are included in these unique blends can be as common as some of the herbs and seasonings that you have in your kitchen pantry. Some of the herbs included may not be so familiar since you would probably never use them on their own.

Botanicals are various sections of plants and in some cases the entire plant is used. After they are gathered, these botanicals are then processed so that they can mix blended with other herbal ingredients. Some of the processing methods include the crushing of various parts of the plant to use the juices if the plant produces a fruit. If the botanicals being used are from a woody plant, they are proabably being processed for sap. Leaves and stems are also grounded and chopped to process them to be mixed with a special mix of herbal ingredients.

Listed below are some of the ingredients that are included in many of the K2 brand products.Some of these ingredients include the beach bean, Clematis vitab, Nelumbo nucifera, Ledum palustre and Heimia salicifolia. Many of these example ingredients listed are used to influence the aroma or taste of a certain blend of herbal incense.

Once these herbs and botanicals have been processed, they may then be blended with proprietary ingredients or the company’s unique ingredients. many of these ingredients are used to set one corporation’s blend from another. Each brand name attempts to create their own special blends to set them apart from the hundreds of competitors who all claim to have better blends. Because there are so many different brand name herbal smoke providers in the marketplace, developing your own unique and captivating blend can be the difference between selling out of stock and losing business to a competitor.

When these K2 incense blends are used correctly, they can assist to take your mind and body to another realm during yoga and meditation procedures. These products are meant to be burned as incense and not inhaled in your throat. When burned, these effective incense permeate the air with soothing fragrances.

Just like any other substance, the individual effects of K2 herbal smoking blends and similar products will vary depending on the person. You make be in a room with a friend who does not feel anything while you are floating on cloud 9.

Herbal Incense Smoking it while writing Review

Now I know I said I was going to get a girl to do this review, this is k2 herbal incense and its not for human consumption   a lot of people have been asking me if this is safe to try.  All this herbal incense is a herbs and give cancer people to eat and help them.

This is my 2nd time trying this and let me tell you this is really good.  Now I know your reading this and you cant see what I see but the herbs are mostly green a bit mushy and no steams no leaves and it smells really good, now I am about to roll it with my hundred dollar bill now to start to smoke it

I love this cause it smells so great.  I smoke my primo joints and I do have a girl here smoking with me its my older sister and she has never tried herbal incense before – she has tried weed though.  Yes we have a first time smoker in the house.

I am a freak, ok lets light this baby up.  I smoke a shit load of herbal incense and let me tell you this is one of the best.  On with the show.  I’m a little bit tipsy to cause I been drinking that beer all damn day! Yea buddy lets fire up with fat joint.  One thing I noticed about smoking joints of herbal incense is that they will run, you have to watch the joint cause they burn very fast.  Just make sure you keep one eye on that right there.

Taking my first hit now and passing to my sister and she is now hitting that bad boy and on her 2nd toke, it is smooth and does not make her cough.  This shit burns fast and it only takes a minute for us to get though this joint.  Me and my girl – my x is telling me I cant see my kid anymore. So I sent her a text telling her I miss her cooking and that bull shit.  Anyway but fuck – hate my x wife what a bitch.  My sister is saying that she don’t know if she likes it.  Little strong for her.  Now we are smoking this entire joint of this shit.  She now says that thing is very good, my fucking state is about to ban this shit.

So from us we both say thumbs up.  It’s a fucking home run at the ball park and over the fence.  This is the grand slam of high, the super toke of bye.  Hit this shit and your gonna be fucking high.

–submitted by one of our fans from our site…. (Staff)

Jonny Clearwater’s Blueberry Cheesecake Herbal Incense Review

2 for $25 Jonny Clearwater's Blueberry Cheesecake (3.5 grams ea.)

Blueberry Cheesecake Herbal Incense is a brand new aromatic potpourri or herbal incense, if you will. This blend of aromatic potpourri is engineered to ease the stresses of work, school, home, etc. Powerful enough to easily blow your hair back. The recent ban on certain compounds does not affect our scents at all, and they also use the freshest and highest quality ingredients to create an uplifting fulfillment that is only a few clicks away.

Jonny Clearwater’s Smores Review

2 for $25 Jonny Clearwater's Smores (3.5 grams ea.)

Crisp, Sweet and Refreshing.

Smores Herbal Incense is a brand new aromatic potpourri or herbal incense, if you will. This blend of aromatic potpourri is engineered to ease the stresses of work, school, home, etc. Powerful enough to easily blow your hair back. The recent ban on certain compounds does not affect our scents at all, and they also use the freshest and highest quality ingredients to create an uplifting fulfillment that is only a few clicks away.