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Many looking for pot alternative are smoking potpourri product; not for human consumption


7H is an herbal incense product sold as 'potpourri.' Many people looking for a cheap, legal alternative to marijuana are smoking 7H.7H is an herbal incense product sold as 'potpourri.' Many people looking for a cheap, legal alternative to marijuana are smoking 7H.Two hits into an herbal incense packaged as 7H, and Amy, a University of Kentucky sophomore home for the summer in Bowling Green, loses complete awareness that she has a body.

Her eyes close and she sees static, like the kind of static on a television screen when the cable goes out. But this static hurts.

Amy wants the static to go away because the pain is unbearable. At one point she stops breathing because not inhaling clears the static somewhat and makes the pain go away.

Amy is having what some drug users call a “bad trip,” the kind of trip that in Amy’s case ended with an ambulance ride to the emergency room at The Medical Center.

Amy, whose name was changed for this story, agreed to speak anonymously to the Daily News to warn other young people about the dangers of smoking incense.

A clerk at Prince Hookah Lounge, where Amy bought the 7H, says it is one of his best sellers. The clerk points out to a buyer that the $25 product is “potpourri” and is not for human consumption. It sits behind a clear plastic display case along with other incense such as Crazy Monkey.

Prince Hookah Lounge owner Amar Shoraba said his customers were clamoring to get their hands on 7H. As a businessman, he wants to sell what consumers are looking to buy. But he points out that he would not sell 7H for any amount of money if a customer said he was buying the product to smoke it.

“Nobody can smoke that stuff,” Shoraba said. “It’s herbal incense. People are not supposed to smoke it.”

Much like with paint or glue, which are manufactured for specific purposes but sometimes used as inhalants by people looking for a high, many people looking for a cheap, legal alternative to pot are smoking 7H.

Amy, a pre-med student who tried marijuana on a visit to Amsterdam, where the substance is bought, sold and used legally, thought 7H would produce a similar feeling.

She was wrong.

“When my trip started, I closed my eyes, and then all of a sudden everything that had happened before, I had forgotten it all. I forgot that everything existed. I couldn’t remember who I was,” she said.

“It was like I was created in that moment and nothing else had ever happened before. I started seeing white dots like static. That’s all I saw. I wasn’t really aware that I had a body. I tried to look through the static. When I stopped focusing, it started feeling like a sharp pain.”

Amy started making sounds.

“When I made a note, the static would change like I dropped a pebble into a lake,” Amy said.

When Amy’s mother found her making the noise, it was screams. Then she noticed that Amy appeared to have stopped breathing. Amy’s mother called for an ambulance. Amy spent the next several hours in a hospital bed. Her feelings cycled from pain, to confusion to paranoia. She then spent the next several days feeling paranoid and unsure if the things around her were real. Nearly two weeks later, Amy still experiences some fear that if she closes her eyes, the static will return.

KPA content serviceKPA content serviceAmy is one of several patients to come through the emergency room at The Medical Center after smoking “incense.”

“We’ve had several cases lately, particularly younger individuals, under the influence of some sort of incense or bath salts,” said Dr. Bart Spurlin, director of the emergency department at the hospital. “They’re hallucinating, paranoid, acting erratically. As far as I know, there have not been any deaths at our facility due to it. But I have heard and read about other cases where there have been.”

Spurlin can’t say for certain that his recent emergency room patients were under the influence specifically of 7H unless someone tells him. And because no one knows what exactly is in the incense, it’s difficult to treat patients who react to it after smoking it.

“It’s frustrating on our behalf,” Spurlin said. “It’s not like treating someone under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. In this case, we don’t really know (what the substance is). We have to treat symptoms as they arise and monitor labs and vital signs.

“When we call Poison Control, they will tell us they don’t know either,” Spurlin said.

Mitch Plumlee III, a behavioral health specialist at Park Place Recovery Center, expressed similar concerns with 7H and other incense.

“One of the troubles with these drugs is they are having some strange effects, and we’re not always clear what specific chemicals are in them that are causing these effects. The chemicals vary from brand to brand and obviously, it’s not regulated.

“Nobody knows the long-term side effects because it hasn’t been around,” he said.

The packaging on 7H lists several ingredients that it does not contain - recently banned chemicals found in synthetic marijuana. The packaging refers to the product as “potpourri” and states that it is 100 percent legal in all 50 states. However, the packaging does not say what’s inside or where it is made.

That’s troubling to Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving, who said his agency isn’t sure if 7H is legal because they don’t know what’s in it.

“After receiving complaints about it and hearing of emergency room visits attributed to it, we have purchased the product and sent it to the state police lab for testing,” Loving said. “It’s not clear to us if it’s one of the new designer drugs made illegal by the past legislature.

“We need to be able to say what this product contains, and then once we know that, we would probably proceed one of two routes. One, if it is an illegal substance, then we can make an arrest for the sale of it. If it is not an illegal substance but creates the problems we’re hearing about, then we would work with the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy to have this declared as an illegal substance.”

For Amy, she thought legal meant safe.

“I knew that it was legal, so I figured it would be OK,” Amy said.

While Amy’s medical providers told her she was never near death, her blood pressure and potassium levels dropped after she smoked 7H in a tobacco pipe. For a period of time while she was still under the influence of the incense, she said she was wishing that she didn’t exist while at the same time believing that she was nothing but a thought without a body.

Amy said she will never smoke 7H again, and she has warned her friends about it.

“Just because these substances are legal doesn’t mean that they are safe or nontoxic,” Spurlin said. “I would recommend as a doctor that you not ingest or smoke any substance that is not specifically for human consumption.

“If anyone knows or discovers a friend or relative who has ingested any of these substances or is abusing them, they should seek medical help.”

By Deborah Highland
The Daily News, Bowling Green

Comments  

 
#12 b stew 2013-03-27 10:39
and saying this whole time i could not control it was just coming out of me almost like i completely lost control of my mind. i was completely convinced for an hour that i had died and had been sent to hell. after i was able to control my body i called my friend and just went to his house to calm down. Please if you do 7H or ever thought about it dont. you may think you can handle it but you dont. I really dont kno how to describe the pure evil and aweful events and feelings i went through i just dont want this to happen to anyone.
Quoting neverdo7H:
lastnight i tried 7H for the first time. i have used drugs from weed to acid to molly i didnt think it would effect me too bad. i was wrong it was the worst thing to ever happen to me. i had literally thought that i was dead and had been sent to hell. at first everything around me was reapeating over and over,iculdnt control it then i realized tht the person infront me was the devil himself and he kept repeating something tht i cant recall but this 30 second momment repeated about 10 times i then began to pray to god and everything i was doing and saying this whole time i could not control it was just coming out of me almost like i completely lost control of my mind. i was completely convinced for an hour that i had died and had been sent to hell. after i was able to control my body i called my friend and just went to his house to calm down. Please if you do 7H or ever thought about it dont. you may think you can handle it but you dont. I really dont kno how to describe the pure evil and aweful events and feelings i went through i just dont want this to happen to anyone.

i had the exact same experiance with kite. i thought i had died and went to hell. i also had seen what looked like the devil. but this hasent stopped me. i been a user of "spice" for over three years and still kickin. after that bad trip i have never had another.
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#11 Lindsey 2013-03-06 10:41
my dad is smoking something coming outta a package saying kite i know its a herbal incence and all the health hazards and he knmows but he wont stop smoking how can i get him help
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#10 Bobby Boo Shay 2013-02-24 11:46
7H Incense is the devil!
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#9 Lisa 2012-08-25 22:31
I am only 14, I smoke weed. I couldn't fin any but my friend is bringing me some 7h. Should I still smoke it? I mean I don't want to die or anything...but I really want to get high.
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#8 NeverDoingAgain 2012-07-18 14:25
I had a trip close to the same as Amy from this [censored]. I had been told that if you take 2 hits, you'll be higher than a kite. Well, I took 6 or 7 hits. As soon as i started feeling it, I walked away from everyone and entered my own world. Everyone around me had shadows around them and appeared to be demon-like. I was hearing voices in my head that were telling me I was going to die, and everything I said was repeated back to me in a demonic voice. I was laying on a bench in the middle of town, swearing I was going to die. I had no sense of time,and I only had one emotion; Fear. My breathing got heavy and when I took a breath in, I felt weightless. When I exhaled, I felt like a weighed a ton. My trip lasted about 45 minutes and it took about a gallon of water being poured on my head to finally start to come down. I have never smoked 7h or any other incense since then, and I never will. Since then, I've had friends family members die from it. It's not worth it. If you want to get high, smoke pot. Pot has never killed anybody.
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#7 dan fl 2012-05-07 21:10
i watched my wife i thought she was going to die i have used drugs prety heavy my hole life im almost 40 iv never seen anythang like it she almost stoped breathing could not control herself had convulsions could not speak it went frome bad to worse in a hurry iv only seen someone lose it snorting spechal k but they did not stop breathing we smoked scooby snax for the first time we have smoked others befor but not like this it lasted like 10 min and will NEVER smoke any potpourri again...smoke real pot or nothing...
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#6 ging 2012-05-07 17:09
is this like for real ? i mean is this amy chick real or is it some body just trying to make you not want to do it? im serious my boyfreind is doing this all i want to know in the future can this harm him hes been doing it for awhile and never had this if you have any proven scientificlly facts about this i wanna know
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#5 neverdo7H 2012-05-01 13:19
lastnight i tried 7H for the first time. i have used drugs from weed to acid to molly i didnt think it would effect me too bad. i was wrong it was the worst thing to ever happen to me. i had literally thought that i was dead and had been sent to hell. at first everything around me was reapeating over and over,iculdnt control it then i realized tht the person infront me was the devil himself and he kept repeating something tht i cant recall but this 30 second momment repeated about 10 times i then began to pray to god and everything i was doing and saying this whole time i could not control it was just coming out of me almost like i completely lost control of my mind. i was completely convinced for an hour that i had died and had been sent to hell. after i was able to control my body i called my friend and just went to his house to calm down. Please if you do 7H or ever thought about it dont. you may think you can handle it but you dont. I really dont kno how to describe the pure evil and aweful events and feelings i went through i just dont want this to happen to anyone.
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#4 7h 2012-02-18 14:54
no
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#3 Hans 2012-02-16 19:46
that idiot should not be selling that stuff at all if he honestly doesn't understand that the stuff is not actually incense.
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#2 Collen 2011-09-07 15:22
Everyone reacts to this differently. Obviously she had what we would call a "bad trip". not everyone has that reaction. I myself want marijuana legalized, . If its legalized we wouldnt have to hear stories like this. Anyways, you shouldnt be scared of 7h. Like i said it effects us all differently. I smoked 5gs in one night and im still alive.
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#1 Bonni 2011-07-28 13:38
does this stuff have phermyldahyde in it? I think it does I smoke weed once that had it sprayed on it I was not aware of this at that time.. i had a very simalar experience with this as Amy did in this story???
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