FDA: CBD doesn’t meet criteria for federal control

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The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t believe that cannabidiol (CBD) needs to be regulated at all

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) eased up on restrictions over cannabidiol (CBD) in an effort to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to legally approve a CBD-based epilepsy drug, Epidiolex. The DEA has put the drug in the least restrictive category – Schedule V – but has left CBD as a Schedule I substance, meaning it is still illegal by federal guidelines. The move came through a suggestion by the FDA, but a new revelation provides a huge surprise. According to internal government documents, the FDA says that CBD doesn’t meet the criteria to even be controlled by the government.

This past May, the FDA told the DEA that studies demonstrate that “CBD and its salts… do not have a significant potential for abuse and could be removed from the CSA [Controlled Substances Act].” However, the DEA politely “forced” teh FDA to maintain control over CBD, as descheduling the drug could be a violation of international drug treaties. The FDA then recommended that CBD be classified as a Schedule V drug, which is the least restrictive out of the five classifications.

In reviewing CBD, the FDA reached three important conclusions – that it has “negligible potential for abuse,” that it has a “currently accepted medical use in treatment” and that abusing it “may lead to limited physical dependence” similar to other Schedule V drugs. It added, “We reach this conclusion because we find that CBD does not meet the criteria for placement in any of Schedules II, III, IV, or V under the CSA.”

The DEA accepted the FDA’s Schedule V recommendation, but insists that the decision does not affect marijuana’s legal status. Uttam Dhillon, the DEA’s Acting Administrator, asserted in a press release, “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.”