2.8.4 JWH-018

JWH-018 #

Common Nomenclature 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole;
Street & Reference Names Spice; AM-678
Reference Dosage Threshold <1mg; Light 1mg+; Common 2mg+; Strong 5mg+; Heavy 5mg+ [Psychonautwiki]
Anticipated: Onset / Duration 30 Seconds / 2 Hours
Maximum Dose Experienced Unknown
Form Smoking Mixture
RoA Smoked
Source / Jurisdiction Head Shop / UK


JWH-018 was the first artificial cannabinoid I sampled, and was procured under the original brand name of Spice. This was sold under the auspices of potpourri, and marked clearly as “Not for human consumption”.

From 2006 onwards, the spice brand became increasingly well known. The manufacturers leveraged this advantage with an entire family of related products: Spice Gold, Spice Arctic Synergy, Spice Diamond, Spice Tropical Synergy, and so forth.

The active synthetics used also varied. Along with JWH-018, I sampled JWH-073, and I believe, CP-47.

So dominant was this brand that spice was eventually to be used by many as a generic term for all artificial cannabinoids.

At the time, such compounds had a fairly unblemished reputation, with little or no association with the sort of horror stories which would eventually emerge. In relative terms, JWH-018 was also to prove to be one of the less harmful chemicals in this class. That is not to say, of course, that it wasn’t corrosive in its own right. It was.

On face value, it was an attractive proposition: a cannabis type experience, via a smokable herb, with a pleasant non-cannabis type odour, making it suitable for consumption in public. Its bright packaging and obvious popularity enhanced the illusion of safety, and I naively consumed far too much of it.

For all the positives, there was always the feeling of artificiality: that this was a chemical and not a natural plant. That feeling was never far away.

In addition, the wealth of subtlety and variation that came with the infinite number of cannabis strains was absent. The experience was fairly standard, at least during those early years.

From my perspective, it was close enough to meeting certain demands, but not engaging enough to become a constant or frequent habit. Unfortunately this did not apply to everyone.

JWH-018 was classified in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act at the end of 2009, and in the United States during the summer of 2012. What was to replace it, however, was a slippery slope of ever stronger, ever more toxic chemicals, with the inevitable consequences in terms of public safety.

Manchester’s biggest head shop stocked a number of Spice variants

Manchester’s biggest head shop stocked a number of Spice variants