The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has added three new strains of synthetic marijuana to its list of banned substances.
These drugs are considered Schedule I drugs, which have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
"The placement of these synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the [Controlled Substances Act] is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety," the DEA wrote in the Federal Register.
As the DEA discovers new synthetic marijuana strains, it adds them to the list of Schedule I substances, according to The Hill.
Synthetic marijuana is sold under names including K2, Spice and Black Mamba. It is made with dried herbs and spices that are sprayed with chemicals that induce a marijuana-type high when smoked, the article notes. The products are widely available, despite laws prohibiting them.
Short-term effects of using synthetic marijuana include loss of control, lack of pain response, increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled/spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations.
The DEA notes that with the passing of each regulation to control synthetic marijuana, drug manufacturers and suppliers are quickly changing the ingredients to new, non-controlled variations. "Exposure incidents involving [synthetic marijuana] continue to be documented by poison control centers in the United States as the abuse of these substances remain a threat to both the short- and long-term public health and safety," the DEA noted.
The agency said it is especially concerned about synthetic marijuana marketing directed at teens and children. Law enforcement has been encountering new variations of synthetic marijuana in liquid form. Users apply the liquid to hookahs, vaporizers and hookah pens.