dea approves synthetic weed

DEA Approves Synthetic Weed

We don’t normally make entries on non CBD hemp oil issues, but this story and the controversy that comes with it, really caught our attention.

On Wednesday, November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration granted Schedule II status to a synthetic THC drug.

The drug, dronabinol, is a synthetic, liquid form of THC that is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people with HIV infection. (The DEA actually approved synthetic liquid THC, but that doesn’t sound as catchy as “weed.”)

Now, on the surface this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. A drug that helps people with cancer and HIV. However, if you start drilling down, and you know a thing or two about the company that makes the drug, well, then things start to unravel a bit.

The Truth Behind Synthetic THC

The FDA-approved liquid dronabinol drug, called Syndros, is made by Insys Therapeutics. A couple of years ago, this Chandler, Arizona-based pharmaceutical company donated large sums of money to a campaign opposing marijuana legalization.

Earlier this year, its founder was arrested on fraud and racketeering charges. It seems that John Kapoor and other company execs were accused of giving kickbacks to doctors that pushed prescriptions of their Subsys fentanyl spray, a highly addictive and potentially deadly opioid painkiller. (Not their first dance with kickback charges either.)

Throwing Shade On Insys

Soooooo many shady things going here. First of all, why would the Feds approve what is going to be a big story (synthetic THC) to a pharmaceutical company with a dodgy past and one that is currently under criminal investigation? Perhaps the fact that they released this information the day before Thanksgiving was a clue? Nobody does anything that day, even bankers and bean counters leave at noon that day. Talk about trying to sneak one by the goalie!

Secondly, Insys Therapeutics has donated tons of cash to oppose marijuana legalization. No self-interests working overtime here, huh? Their half a million dollar donation to oppose Arizona’s marijuana legalization efforts back in 2016 is considered to be the single, largest donation to an anti marijuana voting effort. Nothing illegal about that, technically. Although the optics of it don’t exactly line up well with a patient’s best interests. It seems that Insys wants their synthetic THC product to the be the only choice for suffering patients, over the all-natural version.

Speaking of which, what need is there for synthetic THC anyway?! All the time, money, and resources spent on trying to replicate something that grows (excuse the pun) like a weed! This subject is so mind-boggling that it deserves its own post, but the other major injustice surrounding this whole topic is that the DEA, in approving this drug, categorized it as a Schedule II, which by definition gives it medicinal value. Marijuana, the kind that grows from the earth, is still Schedule I, along with heroin and meth, while this new synthetic THC liquid is considered medicine. What?!

The DEA’s action is also notable because it gives Insys the exclusive right to manufacture and sell its liquid THC dronabinol (generic name) without having to worry about competition. Any other synthetic version not sold as Syndros, the brand name, will still be considered a Schedule I substance, on par with LSD, heroin, and marijuana.

Why is our DEA giving an entire market to a less-than-reputable company, for a product that doesn’t really even need to exist? No one is really sure, but we’ll keep an eye on this story and will give our customers any updates that might come to light.

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