The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified cannabidiol (CBD) as a Schedule I drug as of December 14, 2016.
Schedule I drugs are defined by the DEA as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy are a few well-known examples of drugs classified into Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Under the CSA Scheduling, drugs and associated substances are classified into one of five schedules depending on the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s potential for abuse and dependence.
The less medically-applicable use the drug or substance has and the higher its ability for abuse is, the lower its Schedule classification is.
For example, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, morphine is a Schedule II drug, and Lyrica is a Schedule V drug.
Defined in the CSA, a controlled substance analogue is a substance which is substantially similar to or represented as being similar to a Schedule I or II substance and is not an approved medication in the United States.
As per case law history, this has traditionally been decided on the basis of chemical composition in comparison to the Schedule I or II substance in question.
With this, products similar to CBD will likely be considered Schedule I drugs as well.
The DEA’s announcement has raised questions amongst Americans who are well-educated on the health benefits of CBD in addition to the ongoing legalization of marijuana across the country.
Many doctors prescribe CDB-based products to their patients as treatment, and many individuals turn to CBD products as an alternative medicine.
This announcement may also make it illegal to transport marijuana over the state lines, which would in turn affect CBD oil product manufacturers and distributors.
However, there is some hope for these parties on the legal basis of the Farm Act of 2014 and the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, in addition to the laws of states that have legalized marijuana.
About the Hemp Plant and CBD
The hemp plant is a non-psychotropic form of cannabis that is grown around the world and is often imported to the United States for its uses in nutritional supplements and foods, building materials, and in textiles.
Specifically, hemp contains less than .03% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas marijuana contains more than .03% of THC.
CBD oil is extracted from the aforementioned hemp plant, and is a primary ingredient in CBD products along with other essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids to treat certain medical conditions.
To date, various studies have found that CBD oil products function as a digestive aid, works as an anti-inflammatory agent, assists in alleviating social anxiety, alleviates psychotic symptoms, and provides protection against the development of certain tumors, including breast cancer.
Notably, this is in addition to the findings of numerable studies on the health benefits of general marijuana usage.
This recent announcement on the classification of CBD as a Schedule I drug may greatly affect patients who have found relief with using CBD oil products, as well impact the operations of CBD oil manufacturers.
Petitions to reschedule marijuana under the CSA have been denied by DEA on the grounds that it does not meet the criteria for having a currently accepted medical use in the United States.
“There is a lack of accepted safety of its use under medical supervision and has a high potential for abuse,” DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg stated.
Until further notice, and challenged as recently as July 2016, marijuana will remain as a Schedule I drug. Likewise, it appears that CBD will as well.
For reconsideration, DEA and FDA are working hand in hand to conduct further research to prove the effectiveness of marijuana and find assurance that control will be exercised for the drug not to be abused.
The DEA and FDA continue to believe that medical use of marijuana still requires proof to be scientifically valid, as well as controlled clinical trials conducted under Investigational New Drug applications to assess whether marijuana or its constituents are safe and effective.
The DEA has also increased the number of registered marijuana manufacturers, providing a more robust supply of marijuana for researchers on their continued study to prove the health benefits of cannabis.
The DEA’s new policy will allow additional entities to apply to become registered with DEA so that they may grow and distribute marijuana for FDA-authorized research purposes.
Legal or not, it cannot be denied that many studies have already proven the benefits of CBD and marijuana.
With a more extensive research, marijuana and CBD may end up being a widely-accepted wonder drug.