The National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation (NIFDS) said that with the cooperation of Incheon Customs Service, it has detected a synthetic hemp-like substance from imported white powder and identified its chemical structure.
The institute said it has named the substance as MBA-CHMINACA and registered it with the Forensic Science International, for the first time in the world. The material is an analog to JWH-018, which the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has designated as a psychotropic medication.
Also, the institute detected two JWH-018 analogs -- 5-F-MDMB-PICA and AMB-FUBINACA -- which were first reported in overseas academic circles in 2015 and 2017, respectively – from tea leaves, for the first time in Korea.
According to the institute, AMB-FUBINACA is 85 times stronger than hemp in producing psychedelic effects 50 times stronger than that of synthetic hemp JWH-018. The Korean government has designated the substance as a temporary drug, while the United Nation has labeled it as a controlled substance.
“We will preemptively block the inflows of illegal substances such as new drugs and medicines imported from abroad through close cooperation with related agencies such as the Korea Customs Service, the Prosecutors' Office, and the National Forensic Service,” the state agency said.