For the past five months, we've been reporting on the sale and use of synthetic cannabinoid compounds called JWH. Research indicates these compounds are four to five times more potent than THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. JWH is sprayed onto "herbal incense blends" like Spice and K2, and is also sold in so-called "pure" powder form from "research labs".
JWH compounds and any products containing them have been banned in more than ten countries and seven U.S. states. Arizona is not one of those states. "Synthetic marijuana," as JWH has been called, is still widely available here from head shops, the Internet, and at least one bar.
We recently found an "herbal incense blend" called Albedo 7 for sale in the Phoenix listings on Craigslist. After calling the number in the ad, we were quoted a price of $15 for two grams, which is much cheaper than what local head shops are charging for similar products (typically anywhere from $20 to $40 a gram, depending on the "purity" of the "incense blend").
The Albedo 7 blend is one of the stronger "herbal incense blends" we've tried.
Albedo 7 has a strong maple syrup fragrance. The herbs themselves look like a mixture of damiana and catnip, with several long, dark stems.
Smoking this stuff wasn't "smooth" at all. My throat felt like it was on fire. I managed to take two hits, and that was it. Those two hits had me bombed.
Right away, I had a disconnected feeling, like my head was a helium balloon bobbing around in the air above my shoulders. A warm, tingling sensation began at the top of my head, and slowly worked its way down to my feet. It was very intense and ethereal.
After five minutes, the disconnected feeling started to fade, and was replaced by a feeling of relaxation and wonder more similar to a THC high. This feeling lasted for more than three hours, fading so gradually it was hard to tell when I'd finally "come down."
This blend's probably a bit strong for all but the most experienced smokers and reckless risk-takers.