Synthetic Cannabinoids And Fentanyl Analogs Now Illegal To Sell Or Possess In Minnesota
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy (MBOP) recently announced the sale or possession of several synthetic cannabinoids and fentanyl analogs is illegal in Minnesota. The rule went into effect on August 6.This MBOP order makes synthetic cannabinoids and fentanyl analogs Schedule I substances, which means there is currently no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse.
Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made chemicals that are similar to those found in the marijuana plant. They are used in a variety of ways, most of which involve smoking, using electronic cigarettes, or vaping devices to ingest the substance and experience a high. They are often sold as a “safe” alternative to marijuana; however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they can have dangerous side effects, such as:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Violent behavior
- Breathing problems
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack
Fentanyl analogs are drugs that are similar in compound structure to fentanyl. Fentanyl is a pain medication that is prescribed for severe pain, such as that associated with cancer or terminal pain, and typically 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl analogs are illegally produced around the world. They typically come into the U.S. from international drug trafficking through the mail and across the borders. The effects of fentanyl analogs can include:
- Slowed breathing
When a person is overdosing from opioids, their breathing can slow to a rate that is potentially fatal. Some fentanyl analogs are so potent that multiple doses of naloxone (a drug that temporarily blocks the effects of opioids during an overdose to allow a person time to receive medical help) may be needed. The use of fentanyl analogs has continued to rise and, according to the CDC, doubled the number of opioid overdose deaths in 2015-2016 nationwide. In Minnesota, there were 87 fentanyl-involved deaths reported in 2016.
More information about fentanyl and fentanyl analogs can be found on the MDH Opioid Dashboard.
It is important to note that this action will not impact the legitimate prescribing of FDA-approved medications or the products sold by companies regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program.