April 3, 2020  Last Update: November 12, 2019, 4:01 pm

Air Force Flying High – on Dangerous Synthetic Drugs?

Spice or K2 synthetic cannabinoids in the US Military

The US Air Force has disciplined almost 500 airmen in 2011 for abuse of the synthetic cannabinoid drugs known as "Spice" or "K2". Other branches of the US military are also reporting problems with the drugs.

Spice, a synthetic drug designed to mimic the active ingredient in marijuana, was banned nationwide in November of 2010. Now  the illegal drug has infiltrated the U.S. military. Navy doctors are saying the drug causes schizophrenia in susceptible individuals.

Seven hundred Marines, Airforce airmen, and Navy sailors have been investigated this year in regards to Spice use, up from 29 just two years ago, according to reports from The Associated Press. The Airforce has already punished 497 pilots just this year.

That’s Pilots. The guys who fly the war planes are apparently getting high on dangerous synthetic  drugs that are known to have lasting psychological impacts.

We don’t (yet) have direct knowledge of pilots actually flying while high, but if they are active “airmen” in the US Air Force, and have been sanctioned for taking drugs with lasting psychological effects, it’s probably safe to assume some have flown while under the influence.

The DEA banned Spice and similar drugs earlier this year, placing them onto Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) list, in order to “avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety”. The banned substances are

  • 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018)
  • 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073)
  • 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200)
  • 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1 R, 3 S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP-47,497)
  • 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R, 3 S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue)

The drugs can cause hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thinking, and psychosis.

AP reports that Lt. Commander Donald Hurst, a psychiatry resident at San Diego’s Naval Medical Center, said some of his patients who ingested the drug now exhibit all the symptoms of a schizophrenic. Dr. Hurst thinks that the drug use could trigger early onset of the disease for those who are genetically predisposed.

These drugs are not related to marijuana. Calling these chemicals “synthetic pot”  makes them easy to market, and helps create demand for them. It is much easier to sell “synthetic pot” than “Joe’s new custom chemical that gets you high“.

The chemicals are derived from scientific research conducted years ago on behalf of drug companies looking to better understand the actions of marijuana on the brain. They were designed to fit the same brain receptor sites that marijuana’s active ingredient latches on to, but are more powerful and different from the THC in pot.

Beware dangerous chemicals being sold as "legal/synthetic marijuana" - they’re not pot, they’re not legal, and they’re dangerous!

Most of the synthetic cannabinoids are known to be far more dangerous than marijuana. Some of the “brand names” listed on the Internet for these drugs:

  • K2
  • Spice
  • Spice ’99’
  • K2 Strawberry
  • Chronic Spice
  • Spice Gold
  • Spice Silver
  • Stinger
  • Yucatan Fire
  • Skunk
  • Pulse
  • Black Mamba
  • Mystery
  • Red X Dawn
  • Zohai
  • Mr.Nice Guy
  • Spicylicious
  • K3
  • K3 Legal
  • Earthquake
  • Genie


The Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is issuing this notice of intent to temporarily place five synthetic cannabinoids into the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) pursuant to the temporary scheduling provisions under 21 U.S.C. 811(h) of the CSA. The substances are 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018), 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073), 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200), 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1 R, 3 S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP-47,497), and 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R, 3 S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue). This intended action is based on a finding by the DEA Deputy Administrator that the placement of these synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. Finalization of this action will impose criminal sanctions and regulatory controls of Schedule I substances under the CSA on the manufacture, distribution, possession, importation, and exportation of these synthetic cannabinoids.

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  1. […] Part of the new readiness includes breathalyzer tests for sailors stationed on board ships, submarines and at air squadrons.  Marines will also encounter random breathalyzer tests. The Navy will also start random urine sample testing, looking for synthetic chemical compounds including Spice, the synthetic marijuana (cannabinoid) highlighted last year when the Navy discharged dozens of sailors for substance abuse. The Air Force has also had Spice and synthetic drug problems. […]

  2. […] Synthetic chemicals have been popular with drug users for many years. In 2011 we reported on synthetic drug use in the military, which addressed synthetic cannabinoids and “Spice” or “K2″ consumer […]

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