China will become the world’s first country to regulate all synthetic cannabinoid substances, in a bid to get ahead of new variations whose chemical properties are not yet subject to regulation, the country’s drugs control office said on Tuesday.
Synthetic cannabinoids are lab-made drugs originally designed to produce similar effects to cannabis, but which are often far stronger and carry a greater health risk, Deng Ming, deputy director of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, said at a briefing.
By the end of 2020, 1047 variations had appeared worldwide, Deng said. Some of the drugs in China were being produced domestically, though some were also being smuggled from abroad, he added.
Abuse of the drug has been particularly prevalent in China’s western Xinjiang region, where police have seized 16 kilos of the drug and arrested 390 suspects since 2018, Yu Haibin, another official, said.