‘Legal marijuana’ and a ban on brain function

The United States Congress has just passed a bill to ban ‘legal marijuana’ incense products and ‘bath salts’ stimulants – a legal move which, possibly for the first time, prohibits substances based on their action in the brain and not solely their chemical structure.

The bill is an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act which currently contains a list of prohibited drugs, defined entirely by their name.

Due to the varied nature of cannabinoids, and the fact that semi-legit labs seem to be producing new variations at a remarkable rate, the bill uses quite a wide definition.

The bill (pdf here) specifically prohibits “cannabimimetic agents”, defined as:

…any substance that is a cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1 receptor) agonist as demonstrated by binding studies and functional assays within any of the following structural classes…

and any preparation

…which contains any quantity of cannabimimetic agents, or which contains their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers…

In other words, the definition includes a general class of compounds and possible chemical variations that have a specific action in the brain – namely binding to the CB1 receptor.

This is, as far as I know, the first attempt to ban a specific brain function.

The safety is these drugs is still largely unknown, however. Although most were developed many years ago they’ve never been scientifically tested in humans and current research is limited to a few case reports or small studies.

There have certainly been deaths and bad reactions but as we have almost no information on how widespread the use of these drug is we really have no idea about the relative risks.

Link to news from the DrugMonkey blog.
pdf of passed bill.

11 thoughts on “‘Legal marijuana’ and a ban on brain function”

  1. I may be misunderstanding or have missed a bit of the bill, but does this mean that Congress has just banned Tylenol? I probably am, because that seems a gross oversight.

  2. So if passed all synthetic cannabinoids are Schedule 1 Except synthetic THC (in the form of Marinol), which is chemically the same as natural THC, which is of course schedule 1. Effectively saying ‘if you buy from Abbot Pharm, we will go easy on you.’

  3. They forgot to add cycling and running to the Controlled Substances Act amendment. Might as well throw in a ban on aerobic exercise if they are targeting bans on brain function, since endocannabinoids (i.e. anandamide) give us a natural high. This endogenous cannabinoid, released after sustained aerobic activity, acts on the same CB1 receptor in the central nervous system.

  4. This is incorrect, it bans cannabinoid agonists in a few specific classes that share similar chemical structure. It does not ban all cannabinoids, that would make Echinacea illegal. But it is a horrible bill.

  5. Aahh…the joys of banning brain function. This would also ban paracetemol and chocolate as far as I’m aware. Logic is everywhere throughout congress . Prepare for the new world order where parts of your brain are now banned..the ban on DMT was illogical enough seeing as it is also contained in the bodies of those who banned it but come on..

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