DEA makes 3 versions of synthetic marijuana illegal - - Columbia, South Carolina |

DEA makes 3 versions of synthetic marijuana illegal

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIS) - The United States Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily made three versions of synthetic marijuana illegal Thursday.

Known as cannabinoids, the substances 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 in retail stores.  

The changes to the classification of the drugs will be in effect for two years.

The substances have a similar effect on the brain as THC, the main drug in marijuana. A recent study by the DEA determined the substances pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

In April, the DEA warned manufacturers, sellers, retailers, and people possessing the drug that the change would occur so they would have a month to get rid of their current stocks and stop making or buying more.

The DEA says over the past three years, smokable herbal blends containing synthetic cannabinoids have been falsely marketed as legal and have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. 

They consist of plant material that has been laced with cannabinoids, which 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 have the potential to be severe.  The DEA says psychotic and violent behavior has been observed in short-term users of the products. 

During the next two years, DEA will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to determine if these chemicals should be made illegal permanently.

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