The five main chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497 and cannabicyclohexanol) that are used to make synthetic marijuana products, have been put under extended emergency scheduling authority, to prohibit possession or selling of both the chemicals and the products that contain them. The additional authority will last for another six months and has been enacted by the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration) as a follow up to emergency action taken a year ago, when an imminent risk to public health and safety was identified.
The action has been taken while legislation to permanently outlaw the products is being put in place by lawmakers. The DEA's action has been published today, 1st March, 2012, in the Federal Register, and issues an alert to the public that these chemicals and their retail products will remain under Schedule 1 substance classification. Schedule 1 is reserved for the most dangerous drugs, which have the highest potential for abuse, and have no accepted medical use, even under supervision.
DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart clarified :
"We continue to address the problems of synthetic drug manufacturing, trafficking, and abuse. Our efforts have clearly shown that these chemicals present an imminent threat to public safety ... This six month extension is critical and gives us the time necessary to conduct the administrative scheduling process for permanent control."
The DEA continue in their announcement by stating that they have identified a tremendous increase in smoke-able, "legal" marijuana imitating products, that recreate the effects of the active ingredient in pot called THC. The brands have been marketed under names such as "Spice," "K2," "Blaze," and "Red X Dawn" with labeling suggesting they are herbal incense, largely as a cover for their intended purpose.
The products are effectively just an inert plant ingredient that has been coated with research chemicals. They have been sold widely in "head shops" as well as over the internet. The FDA shares its concern with the DEA, as there is absolutely no oversight, regulation or quality control of the manufacturing process, thus consumers have no way to assess the purity or safety of what they are purchasing.
Since the products became popular in 2009, there have been a number of reports from hospitals and law enforcement agencies. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to place a substance temporarily in Schedule I when it is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.
Emergency rooms have reported side effects ranging from convulsions and anxiety attacks to dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, vomiting, and disorientation. Nonetheless, it is a fact that in recent years there has been far more abuse, addiction and accidental death from available prescription drugs, than there are from any of the so called street drugs that are so aggressively demonized and controlled.
Written by Rupert Shepherd