The DEA’s confusing approach to marijuana just got even more complicated and baffling, with the administration deciding to classify compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) as Schedule I. This means that not only does the federal government consider the compound to have “no medical use”, but that it deems it as dangerous as LSD and heroin. How utterly ridiculous.
While the DEA remains stuck in the past, epilepsy sufferers in states with legalized marijuana – and even those with CBD-only laws – are finally getting relief from their seizures through CBD, after years and even decades of failed medication.
The DEA’s new drug code, “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” has an additional sub-code if you will dealing with “marihuana extract.” In a nutshell, this code means that CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are kept as Schedule I substances, ensuring that products like CBD oil are treated in the same way a typical marijuana strain would be.
What this allows the DEA to do is determine which researchers are applying to study the entire marijuana plant, and which are planning to just work on extracts from the plant, such as CBD. The old code meant that the DEA had to approve applications to study cannabis, without knowing what researchers planned to do.
Russell Baer, a spokesperson for the DEA told VICE News that the move was an “internal accounting mechanism” to provide the DEA with more “accurate information” on the CBD research taking place under their say so – apparently, anyway.
However, there is speculation that this move from the DEA could be illegal, and if it isn’t, it’s still interference that’s going to slow down research. Considering recent research has brought us CBD medicating products like the Epidiolex by GW Pharmaceuticals – which has a real chance for FDA approval as a treatment for Dravet syndrome – to make changes now feels counter-productive.
Colorado marijuana attorney, Robert Hoban said, “This action is beyond the DEA’s authority,” when speaking to the International Business Times. An adjunct professor at the University of Denver, Hoban continued, noting that the DEA has no ability to create law, only to enforce it. By creating their own marijuana extract sub-section, the DEA is effectively trying to make its own rules on how cannabinoids should be dealt with at federal level. Hoban says the DEA has no authority to make cannabinoids illegal.
Despite huge momentum in several states all over America, in Washington, movement on marijuana is as slow and frustrating as ever.