DEA already admits defeat on synthetic marijuana ban?

Which is/are now illegal in the US?

For those following our most persistent story of the last year or so, you’ve already heard that the US Drug Enforcement Administration declared as controlled substances five synthetic cannabimimetics present in “herbal incense” products such as K2 Spice, Mr. Nice Guy, and Blaze. These compounds include JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol.

With respect to our chemistry audience here, I discussed on New Year’s Eve how the DEA has authority to also regulate “analogues” [sic] of compounds that have been assigned to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This amendment to the act gives the DEA latitude to prosecute the sale, use, and possession of chemical analogs or compounds pharmacologically-similar to those explicitly listed as controlled substances. What authority decides what’s an analog or not is still a mystery to me and was the subject of that post.

In anticipation of yesterday’s final rule, synthetic marijuana marketers had already been reformulating their products with compounds not named in this rule but existing among the portfolio of retired Clemson University organic chemist, John W. Huffman – namesake of the JWH compounds. (The compound most commonly cited by readers and commenters at my blogs is JWH-250.). As I understood the DEA’s authority, sale of these products containing apparently still-legal compounds could still potentially be prosecuted.

Well, in a story from Minnesota Public Radio, a DEA spokesperson is already apparently admitting defeat in response to retailers who are stocking products free of the five named compounds:

[Last Place On Earth shop owner Jim] Carlson said that with about 210 similar chemicals available, the manufacturers will try to keep one step ahead of the government

“Unfortunately he is correct,” said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, who confirmed Tuesday that many suppliers are offering retailers products with new chemicals. “There are many of these substances and we chose five common ones because we don’t have the resources to study all of them.”

Hmmm. Really?

As we’ve also discussed here, several states including North Carolina have put forth legislation that exhaustively bans potentially hundreds of analogs of synthetic cannabimimetics. While the DEA limited their rule to five, it seems odd to me that they are saying, “Oh well,” when they seem to have the authority to apply the rule to related compounds.

After all of the quibbling and delay since the DEA first announced its intention to enact this rule last November, is anyone else confused by this throwing up of hands?

Author: David Kroll

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116 Comments

  1. I think marijuana should be included in smokeless cigarettes. I have tried to get THC inside one of my smokeless cigarette cartridges. the problem is that the atomizer does not heet up enough. If you could get hte same benefits from the THC inside the smokeless cigarette cartridge, then it could really be benefical to our health, for those who use it for medicicinal purposes! ;)

  2. Istarted smoking it coz of probation, fucked my head up bad, severe symptoms of Schizophrenia on three seperate times that I had let the addiction get bad and then quit smoking. I can say I am done for good but im not toatally. Sure im not too late …no peeing right or pooping or sleeping or eating and totally dillusional and paranoid, sore all over, shit is bad babd bad…its been a week and it feels like I’ve been on meth since I quit.

  3. Istarted smoking it coz of probation, fucked my head up bad, severe symptoms of Schizophrenia on three seperate times that I had let the addiction get bad and then quit smoking. I can say I am done for good but im not toatally. Sure im not too late …no peeing right or pooping or sleeping or eating and totally dillusional and paranoid, sore all over, shit is bad babd bad…its been a week and it feels like I’ve been on meth since I quit.

  4. Ok… so, those who have tried or researched marijuana and its effects know that it is not dangerous, addicting, or harmful. ( To any great extent. Unless, of course, It is just used WAY too much. Use prudently!). So, my question to you all is, whose private agenda is “Above the Influence” pushing? Or, are those behind it just misinformed, although well-meaning, people? I mean, the DEA ADMITS that it is less addictive and harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

    Don’t you guys just love propaganda? lol.
    Thanks!

  5. If you guys want a information from personal experience I live in Virginia very close to Maryland. I tried K2 that had the banned compounds. One time I had a bad experience where my heart was beating really fast, I was sweating, my teeth chattered and I was scared something was going to happen. Eventually it went away and I never tried that kind again it was called Space Cadet 100x and it was very very strong. Those kinds should be outlawed 100% in my opinion because if they are put in the wrong kids hand things could go very wrong. However almost any other kind I have tried now that don’t have the 5 compounds I have had 0 problems with. It gives you a buzz feeling like marijuana and last about 30 minutes to an hour. It really isn’t that bad and most of my friends that have tried it agree. I think that it helps these kids on probation who can’t smoke who are scared to smoke marijuana so they turn to this drug. I have seen it so much. If marijuana was legal, trust me none of these kids, or myself, would be using this drug. I don’t think that it is anywhere close to being as bad as alcohol and all these people blaming spice on eating people like bath salts are crazy.. People hear about the bath salts and put spice in the same category which is wrong.. I think that they should do research on this product. I also think it is outrageous that they haven’t had studies on this product.. if kids really are hurting themselves then shouldn’t we know this instead of never knowing? Sometimes I don’t get the world.

  6. My friend was smoking spice for a while but said he stopped when they made it illegal. (over a week ago I think) but then he stopped sleeping. His ex-girlfriend was in town which added to his stress and then he went psychotic. He kept talking about god. Even claimed he met god and that he was god. He’s in the psychiatric hospital now. He was suicidal, thought he would hurt somebody else, highly delusional and had violent outbreaks. This guy is one of the nicest guys I know and was highly educated, functional and responsible. Now he just started antipsychotic meds. Like others said, I don’t know if the spice drew out an underlying psychosis/schizophrenia but they seem to be related. It’s almost been a week now. We all want our friend back! This has been a terrible experience and his poor family is worried sick. I hope this doesn’t last much longer.

  7. The sale of synthetic drugs must be stopped before it destroys all of our kids aren’t they our future?Close down the smoke shops and revoke all of the dealers business licenses it must stop!I just wish it would have been a little sooner then my son wouldn’t be locked in a alternate universe and he could be there for the birth of his first child.

  8. OK YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH THIS SPICE.ITS COMING FROM THE HORSE MOUTH.I SMOKE THAT SPICE FOR YEARS AND NO SIDE AFFECT.JUST A GOOD BUZZ AND JUST ONE DAY I GOT LIT UP AND WENT TO LAY DOWN WITH MY WIFE.ALL OF A SUDDEN SHE SAID I STARTED SAYING IM DIEING OVER AND OVER AGAIN.I FELL TO THE FLOOR AND CAME UP ON MY TOES LIKE A DEMON FROM THE MOVIES WITH WEIRD SOUNDS COMING FROM MY VOICE.I MEAN LIKE SOMETHING FROM THE MOVIES.I RAISED UP AS HIGH AS I COULD GET AND STARTED GRABBING MY SON BY THE SHIRT TRYING TO THROW HIM IN THE RESTROOM.THEY TRIED VERY HEAVILY TO HOLD ME BACK FROM HIM.HE IS ONLY 14 AND I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS OUT OF HIM.I MEAN A REAL GOOD KID.THEY DIDNT KNOW WHAT WAS WRONG.LIKE I WAS DEVIL OR DEMON. EVERONE STARTED YELLING AND YELLING WHATS WRONG AND I COULDNT SPEAK MY OWN VOICE.I WENT ON AS I HEARD FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES.THEY CALL THE AMBULANCE AND POLICE.THEY CAME IN AND CHECK MY VITALS AND I WAS FINE.MORAL TO THIS WHAT WERE I TRYING TO DO TO MY FAMILY I DONT KNOW AS I ALSO YELL IN A CRAZY VOICE FOR MY 8 YEAR OLD AND SAYING BRING HIM TO ME KNOW.NOW YOU TELL ME WHAT IS UP WITH THIS STUFF OR BETTER YET KEEP SMOKING DAT SHIT AND WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS OR MAKE WEED LEGAl tax it and sell it where the fake shit is and regulate it like alchohol.my family is terrified of me and dat who knows what is in it.i love my family and wouldnt hurt a fly i dont drink or do anything as a drug and dat shit is not worth hurting myself or my family over,so dont be stupid or better yet be stupid and sit and explain why i dont need dat in my life and watch your picture come up on a news cast.BELIEVE ME IT AINT WORTH IT AND WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY SOLD YOU.THATS WHY THEY SAY ITS NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION,BE SMART AND REMEMBER IT HAPPEN TO ME WHEN WILL HAPPEN TO YOU.IM DONE ILL STAY HIGH ON LOVE ITS FREE.

  9. First of all, the people accusing these kids of smoking meth or other drugs- just shut your mouth. Just because it didn’t affect you the same way doesn’t mean that these kids were smoking crack or meth or anything else besides “spice”. Everyone’s brain chemistry is different and things affect everyone different ways and if you are too stupid to realize that then its your own damn funeral. I smoked mr. Nice guy, black magic, and another brand that was a “power plant” scent or whatever and it affected me like those kids. Now, I am an A/B honor roll college student and yes I have smoked weed before and started the fake stuff to pass a drug test. And it was all fine and dandy until one time I smoked a bowl and something in my brain snapped. Now this was straight from a head shop, not bought off the street or anything else. I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t feel any connection to my family and friends even though I did recognize them, and it took me two weeks to be able to have a conversation with my mother without feeling like she was a stranger. Right after I hit the bowl a third time my head started going weird and I felt like it was being pulled backwards and I couldn’t stop it. So my head kept dropping back against the seat and I couldn’t even think of anything because all I could hear in my head was “what the fuck is going on” over and over and over, it sounded like someone else’s voice or my own brain trying to comprehend what was happening to me. Yes, this sounds like I tools acid or some kind of hallucinogen, and no, I did acid twice around 5&7 years ago and havent touched it since. I have never in my life smoked meth or bath salts or anything crazy like that. I tried liting a cigarette to calm myself down and I felt like the cigarette wasn’t lighting but I burned a quarter of my cigarette just trying to light it. My boyfriend said that my eyes turned white and he thought I was going to die. After that I started hearing what I thought were other people’s thoughts, opinions, personal info, etc.. I also thought that myself, my boyfriend, and a few other friends were “Fallen angels” and we had to try to fix the world and could control things like electricity or video games and stuff like that. Sounds like I belong in a looney bin right? I’m not even done. Songs were directed towards me, I thought very one could tell who I was and that the devil was after me because he didn’t want me to save the world. Today, it has been two years since I’ve touched that garbage and although I no longer hear the voices or think I can read others thoughts, I can still feel the affects of the drug but I can reason myself down from it now. And I had it EASY. My boyfriend and his sister were also smoking the stuff and they smoked a lot more then I did (they did at least 5 bowls a day). And the drug never affected my boyfriends sister, no side affects whatsoever. But about a year ago my boyfriend started hearing voices like I was but his was much more intense. He thought that the devil and god were both some of the voices in his head (at one point he was hearing 8-10 voices, it is now down to 4) and all of the voices comment on what he does or tell him where something he misplaced is. Sometimes they call him a stupid asshole and tell him to jump off of a balcony. He was so paranoid he thought people were following him and spying on us. And it even got to the point where he saw one or two people that weren’t there. I found him one day yelling at the empty couch cushion. And right now you’re probably saying he’s schizophrenic but we have been to 3 psychiatrists and all three of them said he did not have schizophrenia. One was very certain that it was a mix of the drug and PTSD because we lived in a very noisy apartment (I’m talking you could hear 5 TV’s at once and hear others conversations) and most of the others couldn’t diagnose him because they did not think he was schizophrenic or bi-polar but they didn’t know enough about the drug to be able to help him. They tried putting him on three different antipsychotics but none of them stopped it. So he stopped taking medication. And he could push it put of his head like I could for a while but when he gets stressed he can still hear them yelling at him and no doctor has been able to help us because they don’t know enough about the drug. Now, there is no history of mental illness in either of our family historys. I know for a fact that it’s from the spice because I’m about 98% better now and I can still remember all of it like it was a bad dream. I never took any antipsychotic’s, I got better all on my own with no medication. And I got lucky. You don’t “get over” schizophrenia- its a lifetime disorder. It is manageable with medication but it is not curable. So all of you people saying that it must just be a mental disorder please explain to me how I had these experiences for TWO YEARS and am not schizophrenic or bipolar or anything. Doctors don’t know shit about these chemicals. Look up some blogs- you will find people all over the country with a lot of the same symptoms, some more severe, some less, some last a short while, and some people have been dealing with it for months or years. This is not a joke. It is not something to be messed with. If you read all of this and still decide to do it- I hope you don’t have an experience like I did. It almost ruined my life and it made my boyfriends life a living nightmare. Really think before you risk the rest of your life over a cheap/ weird feeling high. Stick to weed. Don’t smoke this synthetic crap- if you can’t smoke for your job and you are that much of a stoner you can’t hold off to pass a DT, quit your job and get a different one that doesn’t test. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
    Mine wasn’t too bad, I heard voices but I could block it out at points and I learned a lot about myself in the process. It was a hard, LONG trip. And the risk of being fucked up forever isn’t worth it. I thought I was going to be messed up forever and I guess I still am somewhat screwy in the head at this point but I can function and tell what is real or a dream- that’s another side effect. Everything will seem like a video game and like a dream and over time it gets harder to tell the two apart. Again- my boyfriend and I have NEVER done bath salts. His sister was actually addicted to PCP a while back (before we ever smoked spice) but guess what, she wasn’t affected by the spice like we were! She got a little lost an confused once or twice but she never heard voices like we did. So all you smartasses that say the spice couldn’t possibly do that, explain that one to me. Don’t be childish and think “it will never happen to me” because you know what? Maybe you’re right, but what if you are wrong? Do you want to spend years trying to pick op the pieces of your life and figuring out who the hell tou are again? It’s a long process. And I know people are going to post after this and say I am full of crap or I’m smoking crack or meth or whatever else they can come up with, but they don’t know me and they don’t what the hell I went through to get to where I am now. I only hope that this post helps other people realize that this could ruin their lives. I’m not against drugs- I’m against fucking around with chemicals you know nothing about. It’s not a game. If you want to gamble with your sanity go for, but for all you smart people out there- stay far away from this synthetic crap. Smoke weed!! If you have to pass a drug test, take a bunch of niacin or a kit from a head shop or I’ve even heard drinking a cup of vinegar helps if you can stomach it, but for gods sake stay away from spice. There are other ways around a drug test and even quitting smoking for 28 days will get it out of your system. 28 days of being irritated and pissed off is a lot better then risking your sanity for the rest of your life. Doctors can’t help much at this point so just don’t do them okay? Save yourself. Or you could have all the doctors bills and be no closer to helping you find your mind. I pray that they find something to help not only my boyfriend but everyone else out there who are experiencing similar symptoms to myself and my boyfriend and I hope that people read this and tell anyone they love to stay away from it because you could lose who they were forever. You will not be the same once you go through what we did. It changes you. If you have a child and they are smoking this stuff, it is better if you just let them smoke weed. Trust me. You may hate weed and drugs and letting them smoke weed may be against everything you stand for, but I’m going to tell you right now, if they want to smoke they will find a way to smoke no matter what you do. So save yours child’s sanity and just let them smoke weed. They may be a little forgetful or even annoyingly stoned when you want to talk to them. But trust me, the feeling of having a hospital take someone you love to a mental facility for evaluation is much worse then a little pot. Plus the fact that there is no cure for this. They will get over their weed stupidity, but you can’t get over something that changes your brain chemistry for good. Think about it. Do you want a pot head kid who is a little lazy or a child who is paranoid and hearing voices and can NEVER have peace and quiet in their own mind so they become angry and hostile because they are trying to deal with having their mind taken over. Weed seems like a little pebble compared to this stuff, I’ve seen it from the inside. You don’t want to spend thousands at the doctors who can’t even diagnose or help you. Your child will become a human lab rat because they will try everything because nothing works because they don’t actually know what is making the brain act or stay like this.
    But I’ve ranted long enough. If you are thinking about trying spice I would heavily and carefully considering going crazy for the rest of your life before you start. Because once you start you get addicted like a cocaine addict and it is VERY hard to quit.
    We were spending $50-150 a DAY on this stuff after the first few times we smoked. You build up a tolerance quick and then it’s just downhill from there. Maybe you wi get lucky, or maybe you won’t. That is your own decision you make.
    I never knew that this stuff could have these affects- I never would have thought it in a million years because I thought it was like weed and I’ve smoke weed since I was 14 (I’m now 22) and this stuff is nothing like it. I never thought a fake weed could do this, but obviously whatever chemical was in there reacted with something in my brain and now It is what it is.
    Side note- my boyfriend smoked it for two years before this happened and my side affects happened about a year before his. This all happened when they started the bans and started changing the chemicals. So whatever you do, please be careful. Thanks for reading!

  10. The 2005 Analogue Act is absolutely flawed, regardless of one’s view on the issue of regulation.
    The phrase “substantially similar” is absolutely unspecific. It means nothing and puts no restraint on the law. Thus it both allows absolute freedom to defining similarity and, as a corollary, becomes that much more difficult to reinforce due to its unclear description.
    The DEA has also published a microgram claiming to have enacted a conviction due to the analog act. (http://www.justice.gov/dea/programs/forensicsci/microgram/journal_v3_num34/journal_v3_num34_pg6.html)
    The actual conviction was for the production of a small amount of the scheduled substance, whereas the production of and distribution of the analog went uncharged.
    This latter sleight of hand is more inappropriate than the weasel words of the Analog Act because it is a blatant fabrication.

  11. The National Institute on Drug Abuse released survey results in Dec 2011 reporting that one in nine high school seniors had used “Spice” or “K2” i.e. making synthetic marijuana the second most commonly used illicit drug, after marijuana, among high school seniors. Would that mean that synthetic marijuana to those kids?

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