MAY 16 (WESTON, Fla.) – Today the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the synthetic cannabinoids UR-144, XLR11, and AKB48 Schedule I, illegal drugs under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for the next two years. These cannabinoids are often seen in so-called “fake pot” products that are falsely marketed and sold as “herbal incense” or “potpourri” products on the Internet and by a variety of retail stores.
Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a family of substances that act on the brain similar to delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis. The actual chemical names of today’s controlled cannabinoids are:
This action is based on a finding by DEA’s Deputy Administrator Thomas Harrigan that the placement of these synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. The DEA published a notice of its intent to do this and issued a press release about it on April 12, giving makers, sellers, and other possessors of these drugs a month to rid themselves of their current stocks and to cease making or buying more.
Over the past three years, smokable herbal blends containing synthetic cannabinoids have been marketed under the guise of being “legal” and have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been laced with these cannabinoids. These substances have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use. The long-term physical and psychological effects of these substances and their associated products are unknown but are potentially severe, and psychotic and violent behavior has been observed in short-term users of these products.
During the next two years, DEA will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to determine if these chemicals should be made permanently illegal.