11 Jul Kronic: The New Drug
You can buy imitation crab meat and imitation vanilla. There are egg substitutes and margarines that claim to taste like butter. Now, there is synthetic cannabis, available in Australia for the past two years, which promises all the pleasurable effects of marijuana with none of the legal dangers. No legal danger that is, until very recently. Its name is Kronic, though it has also been called Purple Haze, Voodoo, and Kaos. Whatever name it goes by, it is a blend of legal herbs that has been sprayed with chemicals which mimic THC, the compound which gives marijuana its psychoactive element. It is the compound THC which makes marijuana illegal in most countries.
According to some reports, Kronic is 100 times stronger than regular cannabis and gives the same sensations of bliss and relaxation yet can’t be detected on any drug test. And why should it, when it is legal? Quite as legal as an energy drink. Until only recently a child as young as 10 years old could buy Kronic in Australia with impunity.
Just because users test clean on a drug test doesn’t mean that Kronic is devoid of risk however. Healthcare professionals warn that Kronic doesn’t only imitate cannabis in its pleasurable effects but in negative ones as well. The heart palpitations, delusions, hallucinations and even psychosis that can accompany marijuana use may also result from smoking Kronic. There is also research suggesting that withdrawal from its use could produce symptoms similar to that of heroin or cannabis withdrawal. The bottom line, health experts say, is that so long as all the ingredients of Kronic remain unknown, so does any certain knowledge of how it may affect users.
Kronic was initially created for the purpose of testing lab rats. Like other less potent cannabis synthetics, such as K2 and Spice, it has found its way into the public marketplace. Being synthetic, Kronic does not even smell like marijuana. In fact, it is offered for sale in flavors. Which leads one to wonder to whom the product is being marketed? Some say that Kronic is the current craze on college campuses while others maintain that the very fact that it is legal makes it less appealing to the young crowd. Others say that Kronic appeals to an older demographic, one who perhaps experimented with marijuana in the past. There has been news of rampant use of Kronic by miners as well as reports of use in the prison population. People who are interested in feeling “high” but who are sensible enough to want to avoid losing their job or having a police record are the target market.
Whenever a legal substance touts its similarity to an illegal substance, health officials say ‘buyer beware’. And until more is known about its ingredients and their documented effects, the Medical Association in Western Australia has convinced authorities to ban its sale and use. New regulations in that area now make it a crime to either sell or supply synthetic cannabis punishable by 25 years in jail or a $100,000 fine. Other parts of Australia are considering following suit.
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