Myth Busted: DEA Rescheduling Synthetics


A few months back there was a murmur that the United States government legalized a synthetic version of cannabis, but left the natural form of the plant classified as Schedule I. This scheduling implies that cannabis has a high potential for abuse and it also has no current accepted medical value in the country. If true, this rumor implies that regulators find synthetic cannabinoids, with exactly the same molecular makeup, different than the natural growing plant. Snopes which is a popular internet hoax solvers recently broke down the real facts behind this story  — So, is it truth or rumor?

On July 5, 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved SyndrosTM, a new formulation of their dronabinol pharmaceutical application from publicly traded company Insys Therapeutics. Despite this product being re-scheduled from the original capsule form of Syndros, this has in fact been a legal medicine under FDA regulation since 1985.


The original article that broke the story about this information painted a somewhat misleading narrative according to Snopes. The article compared dronabinol to K2 or Spice, but these drugs are not regulated by the FDA as medicine and are not the same as dronabinol. This also isn’t new news as the article implies. What the original article did do was shine a light on the fact that a synthetic version of THC was approved for pharmaceutical use, but the origin herb isn’t, which many believe to be hypocritical.

After new drugs are approved by the USFDA they are given a legal classification which will dictate the legal way to handle and prescribe the medication. For this case, the DEA issued its first “interim ruling” on March 23, 2017, deeming SyndrosTM Schedule II. After time was given to change the ruling after a period of public comment, it was officially accepted November 22, 2017.

There you have it, Snopes has cleared up any possible gray areas. While the news was pretty much valid, it wasn’t new news at all. The reporting didn’t cover the whole story, but it did some good in rallying the US cannabis community together. All in all, the narrative, although misleading, did serve a purpose.

December 18, 2017

by Cara Wietstock

Profile photo of Cara Wietstock
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.


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