DEA removes CBD-based medicine from list of federal controlled substances

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Epidiolex is officially free from federal cannabis-limiting barriers

The current hemp regulation, along with the increased market acceptance of cannabidiol (CBD) products, has made the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approve the removal of a CBD-based prescription drug from the list of federally controlled substances. It was announced yesterday by GW Pharmaceuticals, that its propietary prescription drug, Epidiolex, has been taken off the Schedule V classification of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). This medication was created to treat epilepsy and with this change, any individual will now have access to obtain Epidiolex.

GW Pharmaceuticals said in a notice that it will soon “begin the process of implementing these changes at the state level and through the EPIDIOLEX distribution network.” By not being listed in the CSA, this medication will no longer need to follow the prescription drug monitoring programs. That doesn’t mean that it can be bought freely; it still requires a doctor’s prescription. But the prescription will be valid for a whole year and it can be easily transferred to other pharmacies.

“This notification from DEA fully establishes that EPIDIOLEX, the only CBD medicine approved by FDA, is no longer a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act,” Justin Gover, CEO of GW, said in a press release. “We would like to thank DEA for confirming the non-controlled status of this medicine.”

Gover added, “Importantly, the descheduling of EPIDIOLEX has the potential to further ease patient access to this important therapy for patients living with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two of the most debilitating forms of epilepsy.” This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2018. Back then, the agency stated that it will be placed in Schedule V drugs, rather than alongside marijuana and its derivates, which are on Schedule I.