There was huge CBD news in the USA on Wednesday, Sept. 28, when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) moved Epidiolex, a drug that contains CBD, to Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act, which is the “the least restrictive schedule of the CSA” and includes drugs such as Robitussin AC.
By doing this, the DEA made it possible for doctors to start prescribing Epidiolex to patients and it was a historic moment, making Epidiolex the first drug containing a purified extract of cannabis to be moved from Schedule I to Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act, and it was also the first drug containing CBD to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in June.
Prior to this, anything related to cannabis and its compounds such as THC or CBD were in Schedule I of the CSA, which is defined as “ drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It’s the same category as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy and you know what’s the craziest thing about the drug classification system? Cannabis is in a more restrictive class than cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderall, and opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl!
This was a step in the right direction as CBD, aka cannabidiol, is increasingly being recognized across the world for its medicinal properties and the DEA is just the latest organization to follow suit.
Epidiolex was approved by the FDA to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, for patients as young as 2-years old- but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean kids will now be getting high because CBD is non-psychoactive.
A CBD-containing drug getting federal approval is huge because it’s the first step towards the federal relaxation of cannabis laws in the USA. Many states have already legalized some form of cannabis, whether it’s recreational or medical, but that’s only at the state-level.
In a press release, Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon was quoted as saying:
“[The] DEA will continue to support sound and scientific research that promotes legitimate therapeutic uses for FDA-approved constituent components of cannabis, consistent with federal law.
DEA is committed to continuing to work with our federal partners to seek ways to make the process for research more efficient and effective.”
But with that being said, the DEA also made it clear that the approval only applied to Epidiolex, at least for now, when it said:
“Marijuana and CBD derived from marijuana remain against the law, except for the limited circumstances that it has been determined there is a medically approved benefit.
In those instances, such as here, the drug will be made appropriately available to the public for medical use.”