As Kush takes over Sierra Leone

Kush – a cheap new illegal drug, is ravaging communities in Sierra Leone.

 

Like Mkpurummiri in South East Nigeria, reports have it that young people are killing themselves or harming themselves and others due to Kush.

 

Medical staff in the capital Freetown say that 90 per cent of the male admissions to the central psychiatric ward are due to Kush use.

As Kush takes over Sierra Leone
As Kush takes over Sierra Leone

Police are battling to win the war against the drug.

 

With Kush use spreading rapidly, with ever-younger users being exposed to it, Africa Eye reporter, Tyson Conteh, investigates the drug and asks whether Sierra Leone can stop the march of this dangerously addictive high.

What is KUSH?

Kush was a kingdom in northern Africa in the region corresponding to modern-day Sudan. The larger region around Kush (later referred to as Nubia) was inhabited c. 8,000 BCE but the Kingdom of Kush rose much later.

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But that’s not the topic at hand.

 

Kush generally refers to a pure or hybrid Cannabis indica strain.

 

The origins of Kush Cannabis are from landrace plants mainly in Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan and North-Western India with the name coming from the Hindu Kush mountain range. “Hindu Kush” strains of Cannabis were taken to the United States in the mid-to-late 1970s and continue to be available there to the present day.

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There are:

Afghan Kush

Blueberry Kush

Golden Jamaican Kush

Hindu Kush

Green Kush and

Purple Kush.

 

It is a breed of Cannabis indica.

 

Effect of Kush

Kush strains are usually indica or hybrid strains, which means they may make you feel incredibly relaxed and drowsy. Medicinal marijuana users often choose kush strains for its pain relieving properties. Some kush strains may also make you feel slightly euphoric and focused.

 

It is an indica-dominant (75%) strain, with a THC content of between 18.5% and 27%. It offers a sedative experience along with some euphoria, which makes it an outstanding night time strain.

 

What characterizes ‘Kush’ cannabis?

Having strong Kush genetics usually means a strain will have a few of the following attributes:

Appearance: Your strain may exhibit deep green colas and leaves with hints of purple. Pistils (hairs) can look orange, bronze, or rust colored. Buds are dense, chunky, and knotted, coming from squat, thick plants.



Smell: Aroma can vary between earthy, floral, pungent, pine, incense, sweet fruit, hash spice, pepper, citrus, gas, and herbs.

 

Flavor: Smoke or vapor should be smooth and herbaceous, tasting of flowers, grape, diesel, citrus, and earth.

 

Effects: The effects are typically heavy and sedative.

 

These attributes can vary from Kush strain to Kush strain. How a strain is grown and its unique genetic expression (referred to as a “phenotype”) naturally affect a strain’s attributes.

 

Law enforcement have been trying to clamp down its distribution.

 

In 2016 Sgt. Marsha Todd of the Houston Police Departments Narcotics Unit, noted that the drug, known as “kush,” is a chemical powder that’s mixed with a solvent like acetone and sprayed onto a plant or similar substance.

 

Houston police recorded a wave of deaths related to synthetic drugs known as “kush” – little more than potpourri of chemicals that have been linked to serious medical problems.

 

The city of Houston reported nearly 3,000 overdoses – about half of of them attributed to a product called Kush. Now law enforcement is trying to clamp down its distribution.



Sgt. Marsha Todd said, “The problem that we see is it’s completely synthetic, so anyone can add whatever they want to it and alter the formula.”

 

Todd says they see people selling it on the street and in convenience stores selling it behind the counter, because it is an illegal substance. “You have to know what to ask for when you go in the store,” she says.

 

Before September 2015, the Houston PD had a list of illegal chemicals. “If they were not within that list,” she says, “we were pretty much playing a cat-and-mouse game.”

 

Now, a 2015 law allows officers can seize substances that are “substantially similar” to or “pharmacologically mimics the symptoms” of things on that list of illegal substance. One of the biggest challenges for law enforcement, Todd says, is public perception of the drug: kush is sometimes also called “synthetic marijuana.”

 

“It has nothing to do with marijuana,” she says. “It’s extremely dangerous compared to the effects received from marijuana…. The only thing that’s similar is, I guess, the way you ingest it.”

 

The chemical compounds in kush affect the brain differently than THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high, does.



“(Kush) is so much more dangerous,” she says.

 

What are the Side Effects of Kush (K2)?

Kush is UNSAFE when inhaled. It can cause harmful side effects, such as hallucinations, seizures, heart attacks, stroke, and even death.

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