April 20, 2013
Scheduling Fake Pot
As of Friday, April 12, 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), published a Notice of Intent on three synthetic cannabinoids, otherwise known as fake pot. Specifically, the Notice of Intent essentially prohibits the sale or distribution of fake pot by classifying it as a Schedule 1 drug, as reported by CNN.
Many of us have heard the language Schedule 1 drug substance, but do not know what that means, so I thought I would post the explanation here. According to the DEA website,
(1) Schedule I.–
(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
CNN explains some of the most common reactions to fake pot as vomiting, anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, high blood pressure, or loss of consciousness. Furthermore, health officials said that the substances “resulted in many visits to emergency rooms or calls to poison control centers.” These sound like at least A and C of the Schedule 1 classification.
The fake pot has street names including Spice and K2, but there are other forms and names. Most of the synthetic marijuana mixtures come from Asia, specifically China and India.
Back in November of 2010 redOrbit reported on how the DEA banned five chemicals used to make fake pot: JWH-108, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, 497, and cannabicyclohexanol. The DEA explained to redOrbit that “These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet.” However, now it is moving to ban and classify the substance as a whole.
Though I know very little about fake pot, it does not seem good to me. But, I question anything synthetic. In fact, if something is synthetic, I usually avoid it to the best of my abilities. I do not think putting synthetic anything in my body is a good idea, and we should avoid it as often as we can.
I wonder how this will play in the national discussion about legalizing marijuana, the real marijuana. Several of the reader comments on the CNN article made reference directly to this. One reader stated, “It’s the governments fault for this entire situation. If they weren’t so closed-minded about legalizing marijuana, this stuff wouldn’t even exist!”
Many studies have shown that marijuana does not have as high of a potential for abuse as once thought. Furthermore, and really more importantly, it has medical use and treatment, and other studies support that. And when synthetic drugs like fake pot have the dangers that they do, perhaps legalizing and better regulating marijuana is the way to go.
It is a difficult subject. On the whole, marijuana has some serious medical benefits that are worth considering, but on the other hand, it has a terrible reputation and history. The DEA plays a role in protecting Americans, but is it really doing its job with marijuana?
Both alcohol and cigarettes fit two of the three Schedule 1 qualifications, yet both are legal and regulated. But marijuana, which only questionably fits into one of the qualifications, and most definitely has a medical use thus does not fulfill another qualification, is still illegal federally. I don’t know, but it seems we need to take a serious look at this.
I am not necessarily a voice for legalizing marijuana, but I do think this fake pot business brings to light some interesting discussion points about the issue.
Image Credit: Atypeek Design / Shutterstock