Scheduling Fake Pot

Apr 20, 13 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

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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  • Anonymous

    In Islam, we didn’t have to wait 1400 years for people to inform us that drug consumption is wrong. All intoxicants (alcohol, drugs, etc.) are forbidden in Islam. That includes tobacco as well.

    So how did Prophet Muhammad know that forbidding consumption of these things was good for humanity? Did he have access to peer-reviewed journals written on palm leaves or did his knowledge come from a higher source? This is an important question that has implications that will last for eternity.

  • Anonymous

    Rayshell, I sent you an email, but I don’t know if it’s been marked as spam. You can delete this message, but if you could let me know if you received it or not, then that would be appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    As long as you are gracing us with your view of what others do wrong, please continue. What other drugs do you avoid consuming? How do you decide if something is a drug?
    Do you avoid all caffeine and thiobromine? You avoid drinking tea? Eating chocolate? Drinking coffee?
    Muslims tried to ban things containing caffeine in the 1600. The opposition to the ban overwhelmingly rejected the dietary laws prohibiting caffeine, so if you today consume things that contain caffeine, realize that isn’t because caffeine isn’t a drug, but because your religion like all others makes decision based on factors other than the word of god or what is right…most decisions are far more politcal than divine.
    How have you decided for everyone whether something is or isn’t a drug?
    What about calories of food, wouldn’t you agree that yyou are dependent on you certain habit amount of your addiction to food intake? Doesn’t a good meal alter your mood? Isn’t that prettty much a description of a drug?
    What about water? Air?

  • Anonymous

    This is not my view. This is what Islam teaches me and what science confirms.

    I agree with you on that. I was speaking in general. I did not say this is a drug or that is a drug. For example, if it is proven that pot is a drug that is a cause of death, then that is forbidden in Islam, but if it is not, then it’s permissible.

    I personally avoid caffeine, but that is a health-related decision and has nothing to do with religion. It is permissible to consume caffeine in moderation in Islam just like it is permissible to consume sugar in moderation. It is permissible to consume chocolate in moderation.

    You cannot compare chocolate and coffee with drugs. Millions of people die every year from drugs. That is not the case with chocolate and coffee. Indeed, some teas have anti-cancer properties.

    I will provide my cursory perspective on the historical issue of coffee in the Muslim World. From my understanding, the Islamic scholars at the time saw coffee as a way for others to gain domination over the Muslims (similar to how the Europeans used opium to gain domination over the Chinese) and during their time, they saw coffee as an intoxicant. Their foresight is interesting though. Today, you find a majority of Muslims are addicted to coffee where it is available.

    The general principle in Islam is that all intoxicants are forbidden. The Islamic scholars of that time judged caffeine to the best of their understanding. Now that science has shown that caffeine is not an intoxicant, then it is understood that it is permissible. Caffeine is a contemporary issue.

    In Islam, when Islamic scholars judge contemporary issues, some principles are followed. This includes examination of the benefits vs. harms as well as examination of the general principle in relation to the specific issue. For example, in this case, we compare the principle that “all intoxicants are forbidden” to caffeine. Then we ask the question, according to the best understanding of the time, “Is caffeine an intoxicant?” There are other principles used in analyzing contemporary issues, but this is one aspect of it.

    I have not decided that for everyone. I leave that job to researchers and scientists if it is not explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an or the authentic narrations of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

    Food should be consumed in moderation. Water is the same.