Synthetic Drugs May Thwart Efforts to Legalize Marijuana

Science has broken through many barriers opening the minds of a lot of people, and it will continue to for a long time. Science can also be misconstrued, its findings can be manipulated to influence the masses for the end goals of interests other than the process of discovery. One possible example are American companies that produce synthetic drugs with a purpose of nothing more than making money.

What sense does it make that drug companies which have been accused, lost lawsuits and seen their executives jailed for being the largest contributors of the opioid crisis in the United States can also be the ones that can produce a synthetic version of marijuana and see it classified as a Schedule 2 drug? The naturally growing cannabis plant remains a Schedule 1 drug.

In an announcement posted Wednesday in the Federal Register, the DEA announced that the drug Syndros, a liquid form of synthetic THC, will be classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it can be legally prescribed by doctors. Meanwhile, regular marijuana will continue to be listed alongside heroin in the more restrictive Schedule I category, which is reserved for drugs that have “no currently accepted medical use” and “a high potential for abuse.”

Syndros is made by Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona-based pharma company accused of using dubious marketing practices to sell Subsys, a spray form of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl approved by the FDA to treat cancer pain. Several former top Insys executives — including John Kapoor, the company’s billionaire founder — have been arrested and charged with bribing doctors and defrauding insurance companies. The company and its ex-leaders also face several lawsuits from states and individuals for allegedly triggering America’s opioid epidemic.

Earlier this year, new Insys president and CEO Saeed Motahari called the launch of Syndros “a pivotal milestone” for the company. The drug is similar to Marinol, another synthetic THC product previously approved by the FDA to treat anorexia from AIDS or cancer. THC occurs naturally in marijuana, and it’s the main psychoactive component that makes users feel high.

The idea that Syndros is less dangerous than marijuana when it is produced by a company that has been charged with bribing doctors and defrauding insurance companies, seems a touch odd. Does the DEA even know how dangerous marijuana is? When there is still no record of a person dying from overdosing on marijuana, what makes cannabis dangerous other than the fact that it is illegal and simply possessing it can result in imprisonment?


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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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