Thursday, March 3, 2011

DEA decrees "fake pot" illegal; animals to get high

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM

What an animal may or may not see while high on synthetic marijuana in a government research lab.
  • What an animal may or may not see while high on synthetic marijuana in a government research lab.

Over two months after gas station clerks and head shop owners were dashing to offload their supplies of synthetic marijuana (sold as “incense” labeled “not for human consumption”), the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has finally made good on last year's promise to make the drug illegal.

On Tuesday the DEA announced that selling or possessing any product containing the five chemicals most prevalent in “fake pot” brands such as Spice, K2, and Mr. Nice Guy is now prohibited by federal law. The ban is technically a “temporary scheduling,” which means that the DEA will take between a year and 18 months to “further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.”

Since the DEA consists of “cops, not scientists,” according to spokeswoman Barbara Carreno, further study of the drug will be tasked to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is a division of the National Institute of Health, which is under the umbrella of Health and Human Services, which is a department of the federal government. Whew.

Here’s what a NIDA spokewoman Shirley Simson had to say about the study in an email to the Weekly this morning.

Generally speaking, NIDA is working to fill in the knowledge gaps that exist with regard to our understanding of how the compounds act on the brain and their potential similarities to “standard” controlled substances.  Potential assessments include the evaluation of binding to cell-surface receptors that are known to mediate the effects of abused drugs, as well as characterization of compound effects on the behavior of animals.  The behavioral studies range from the very simple characterization of potential stimulant or depressant properties to more complex evaluations that capture the similarity or dissimilarity of each compound’s subjective effects to those of a standard drug of abuse, such as THC (the primary active substance in marijuana).

On that note, scientists are apparently still figuring out real marijuana, which leads us to some very stoner-esque philosophical questions, like, what is science good for, really?

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 12, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation