The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed a Cannabidiol based medicine off of the restrictive class of controlled substances from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 5 rating.
With this removal, the federal government has approved the sale of nonsynthetic Cannabis-based medicines. This downgrading includes products with a composition of less than 0.1% of THC.
With the change from Schedule 1 to Schedule 5, these medications must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well.
This action marks the first time that the DEA has ever removed any form of Cannabis from its Schedule 1 list and occurred on the heels of the FDA approving Epidiolex, a CBD product that helps treat rare forms of epilepsy, with Cannabis, that is specifically grown in the UK.
In addition to the change in substance scheduling for Cannabis, the DEA has now approved the prescription of Epiodiolex for medical treatments as well. Since a Schedule 1 substance is not allowed to be prescribed, the DEA has afforded CBD a Schedule 5 rating with no restrictions.
As a result, Epidiolex will now be able to be distributed through everyday pharmaceutical avenues with a doctor’s prescription brought over to the local drugstore.
Prior to this downgrading and removal from Schedule 1, the drug could only be distributed through a specifically designated caregiver or Marijuana dispensary.
This new scheduling applies to those FDA approved medications that contain CBD derived from Cannabis that has no more than 0.1% of THC. With this change, other CBD formulations will be impacted going forward and it appears the DEA will be in support of CBD oils and other CBD products as well.
Although categorized as a Schedule 5 substance, a prescription is still necessary. The DEA states that Schedule 5 drugs have low odds for resulting in abuse and are more often than not pain relievers or antidiarrheal medications.
Cannabis and CBD businesses heavily applauded the new classification even though currently it only applies to one drug, but sets the stage for other drugs to become available freely.