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“Synthetic marijuana” chemist John W. Huffman interviewed on regional NPR program

Dr. John W. Huffman. Source: Clemson University, Department of Chemistry

John W. Huffman is the retired Clemson University chemist whose non-cannabinoid cannabimimetics synthesized in the 1990s have spawned a legal highs industry in the United States. So-called herbal incense products like K2 Spice are sprayed with some of Huffman’s compounds such as JWH-018 and sold in head shops and convenience stores across the US.

However, many municipalities and 15 states have issued bans on the sales of these products. Nationally, the DEA is currently revising a final order to temporarily place some of Huffman’s compounds on Schedule I of controlled substances. Recreational use of these compounds came on the scene in Germany and across Europe several years ago and are now illegal there. The US military has been particularly aggressive in penalizing soldiers for use of synthetic marijuana products. In fact, Reuters reported yesterday afternoon that seven midshipmen at the US Naval Academy have been expelled for using Spice.

Yesterday, Julie Rose at the Charlotte, NC, NPR affiliate WFAE-FM caught up with Huffman for an interview at his home in Sylva, NC. The 78-year-old chemist closed up his lab in December and now works on his hobby of model trains in the North Carolina mountains. The Huffman interview runs about 6:40 – the text and podcast is available at the station’s website.

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Purdue chemist and pharmacologist David Nichols on how he was surprised that entreprenurial chemists were applying his schemes to make legal highs. In contrast to Nichols’ commentary in Nature, Huffman doesn’t have much sympathy for those who dabble with his compounds:

As for any feelings of responsibility that he made the drug, Huffman says “you can’t be responsible for what idiots are going to do.”

And those “idiots” now email Huffman wanting to know how to make JWH-018.

The messages are usually poorly written and ask Huffman for help in making it.

“I just hit the delete button,” says Huffman.

Chemists will also get a kick out of this passage:

The only reason Huffman doesn’t tell his fans to go ahead and smoke marijuana instead, is because it’s illegal. Huffman does not break the law. He says he’s never even gotten a speeding ticket. The one time he tangled with the police, he was 15. He and a buddy started a fire in the street with stuff from his chemistry set.

“We got a free ride to the police station, and it scared the daylights out of both of us that they would notify our parents,” says Huffman.

Please go over to the WFAE-FM site and listen to Julie Rose’s interview with Dr. Huffman.

And if you are in the Charlotte, NC/Rock Hill, SC area, please consider becoming a listener-member of the radio station.

8 Comments

  • Jun 30th 201115:06
    by steven beer

    Reply

    I have been using hayze for a few months with no problems; however the cost is more than I can afford. Spending as much as $ 25-30 a day. I would like to learn how to make it for my own personal use. Can you tell me how to make it?

    Thank-you for your time, sir
    Steve B.

    • Nov 30th 201123:11
      by John Smith

      Reply

      steven, you’re an ignorant dunce. He clearly says in the interview that people ask him how to make it, and he says he doesn’t tell anyone, he just deletes the messages. are you retarded? sheesh, stop getting high and get a life, you pothead bum.

  • Jun 30th 201115:06
    by steven beer

    Reply

    Can you tell me how to make Hayze on my own? It is to expensive to keep buying.

  • [...] Synthetic pot is based around a blend of seemingly harmless floral ingredients. The recipe calls for “bay bean, blue lotus, lion’s tail, lousewort, Indian warrior, dwarf skullcap, maconhabrava, pink lotus, marshmallow, red clover, rose, Siberian Motherwort, vanilla, and honey.” Apparently the base is totally harmless until it is sprayed with a toxic chemical called JWH-018, a chemical invented by John W. Huffman, a former chemistry professor at Clemens University. Huffman is famous for testing the effects of various synthetic THC chemicals (Check out this interview with Huffman on synthetic marijuana here). [...]

  • May 6th 201212:05
    by John Myers

    Reply

    For John W. Huffman your research is very inspireing. lots of people dont understand what or why you made these componds. and thats their bad thank you for the allternative for the illeagle pot. I would just like to know has there been any more resourch on long tirm use. I dont want to make it just wondering long tirm effex. im a 40 year old mail and smoked pot since i was 15 and cant endulge in it job reasons cant smoke any more. been smoken the “spice-insence” for allmost 2 years now. Any negetive commets please save them for someone else.

    • Aug 10th 201210:08
      by Master

      Reply

      @John Myers, just read your comment and you will see the long term damage.

  • Nov 7th 201202:11
    by Tyler

    Reply

    Long term effects. I used to smoke weed every day then I found potpourri, I used spice usually around 4 times a day for about 6 or 7 months. If you have smoked it for 2 years and don’t have any long term effects then it probably isn’t potpourri, your most likely getting ripped off. Anyway, basically opposite after effects of weed, whenever you smoke weed you are always happy, (high or not) always really nice, and respect most things and are happy with your life and thankful for what you have. Fake bake( a term for potpourri or spice) is the pure opposite. You will feel as if you are always dreaming, emotions are messed up. Happy things can make you sad, sad things can make you happy. And it is pretty fuckin easy to get the worst trip you have ever had in your life just from doing a few hits. It is not like marijuana, it is very intense, fast pace, and scary. Even though the entire high(trip) is the worst experience and scariest things you couldn’t imagine happen, you begin to like the feeling of being scared and having your brain thinking in a different language. Your thoughts will be so insane and complex that sometimes you will try and do one thing. But your body will not listen.

    There is a type of spice called Nightmare, and it is at least 3 times stronger and more intense then any other kind. It will take you into a different universe. I have done 3 hits of acid at once and I can easily say that I have been way higher on nightmare. Me and my friends were following train tracks over the summer and I decided to ghost as many hits of nightmare as I could. I did 4 hits and loaded a new bowl every time. I held in each hit for at least 40 seconds. After the first 2 hits I had already for got who I was, where I was, all I knew was my instincts. Then I did 2 more hits. My entire vision was made up of 5 clay blocks. And my vision was flashing, I could see what looked like a dark red screen slowly cover my eyes then open back up. And I wasn’t blinking. Every minutes felt like a day. All of my memory was gone, and all I could see was the very center of my vision, my entire perifrial vision was a long black tunnel. And I could not here what my friends were saying, it felt like there was a jar over my ears. I saw colors that don’t really exist, I don’t know how to explain it but there was some type of yellow that was darker than black. And then I started to have an OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE, I was in third person and there were two spirits talking to me. I don’t remember how the conversation with the spirits went exacly but they taught me that know one knows the actual good and bad, because good and bad means nothing, the spirits said that it is a opinion, and there is no good and bad, but that everyone decides where to draw the line of good and bad in their head.
    Then I heard the train horns, adventualy it came and I noticed my friends were trying to talk to me but I was looking down at my self from 10 feet over my body. Then one of the spirits told me I had to ram in to the train as it was going by. My body started to walk towards the train very slowly and I could not make myself stop walking towards it, I then accepted the fact that I was going to die. But then I realized that if my body dies my brain or soul or something I can’t remember exacly, would still be here, and I would make a new body for myself. After I was a out 6 feet away from the train, I grabbed my body from behind and watched my body fall backwards away from the train. Although I could not feel anything because I was in third person and I thought I pulled my body back just so I wouldn’t have to make a new one. And after I got up and the train passed only a little less then 10 minutes had gone by. At that moment I thought it had been years. I don’t remember how but I looked up and found my self quarter of the way up the train tracks . I looked up and all of my friends looked like some type of animals that were green with tails. And every time I closed my eyes I saw a mirror that was all black, and I saw a empty face. It was me, and I had to figure out what I looked like, but I didn’t know what I looked like, I looked in the mirror which I thought was real and I saw my face keep changing, but every time it wasn’t me. The next thing I remember was being about 200 feet in the sky looking down at myself. (Somehow my body was still walking even though I wasn’t controlling it). It felt like I was in the sky for years. Then I saw my friends move their arms telling me to catch up. As I was in the sky I saw my body start to speed up, and adventualy I caught up, how my body was able to walk and not trip on the railroad while I was 200 feet in the air birds eye view. I have no idea. Adventualy looked up and I was laying on wet mud underneath a bridge and then idk if I fell back asleep or passed out. But ever since that experience my life has been better. I have know Idea how to explain it, it was hard enough explaining that trip.

    I know that makes potpourri sound cool and awesome and out of imagination, the only reason that it was amazing was because I didn’t know what good or bad was, so I was unable to have a bad trip, and didn’t know what bad was or what it felt like. And I almost killed myself somehow.

    My advice if you absolutely love spice/potpourri and imagine and have dreams of getting high on it like I do.
    -is just only do it every month or so, it’s like seeing an old friend
    -and if you just can’t quit and do it daily, just replace it with weed, And if you get drug tested at work/school or whatever, then buy fucking skyrim. All stoners are the shit at skyrim(cause stoners are creative)

  • Jan 29th 201308:01
    by Mccurry

    Reply

    its like for all, it is the dose that makes the poison i guess.

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