WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- A federal agency said Tuesday it is putting restrictions on five chemicals used to make "fake pot" products to prevent a public health threat.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said it was using its emergency scheduling authority to control five chemicals -- JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497 and cannabicyclohexanol -- used in making the products.
"Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the United States," the DEA said in a statement. "This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public health and safety. The temporary scheduling action will remain in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled."
The agency said a final order describing the move was published Tuesday in the Federal Register.
"Emergency room physicians report that individuals that use these types of products experience serious side effects which include: convulsions, anxiety attacks, dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, vomiting and disorientation," the DEA said.
The DEA said the chemicals are now designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. "Schedule I substances are reserved for those substances with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision," the DEA said.
The statement said during the past couple of years "smokeable herbal products marketed as being 'legal' and as providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. ... Brands such as 'Spice,' 'K2,' 'Blaze' and 'Red X Dawn' are labeled as herbal incense to mask their intended purpose."
At least 16 states have taken steps to control one or more of the chemicals.