There’s good news in the world of medical marijuana. Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed marijuana-based medication as a federally controlled substance. Furthermore, Epidolex, the GW Pharmaceutical, announced that the cannabis-derived drug it developed for the use of epilepsy treatment, was taken off Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act effectively immediately. This is a big step forward for the medical marijuana industry.
What Does This Mean for My Medical Marijuana Prescription?
Generally speaking, state reporting requirements that help the federal government monitor drug programs will no longer be applicable to marijuana-based medication. However, like other drugs that fall into the non-controlled category, like antibiotics, patients will still need to get a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain the medical marijuana product., whether in edible, tincture, flower, or vape form, for example The prescription is much longer than with other prescriptions, and there are more lax requirements on changing pharmacies. In fact, patients can get a prescription for medical marijuana that lasts a year and can switch pharmacies at will.
According to Justin Grover, CEO of GW, in a recent press release, “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. We would like to thank the DEA for confirming the non-controlled status of this medicine.” He goes on to say, “Importantly, the de-scheduling 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.”.
What About THC Marijuana Products?
The DEA, citing that medical marijuana was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2018, said it would now be listed under Schedule V instead of Schedule I, where cannabis products containing higher levels of THC are placed.
The FDA has argued that due to its health benefits and minimal risks, CBD shouldn’t be controlled at all. However, the DEA disagreed with this citing international treaty obligations. However, upon these treaties changing, the DEA took medical based marijuana off the controlled substance list and we’re seeing CBD products even pop up in grocery stores.
Even the World Health Organization, a branch of the United Nations, admitted that CBD has such little THC in it that it is “not under international control”. In the meantime, the FDA is pushing to approve CBD products as dietary supplements and developing guideline criteria for the products already on the market.
This change is stature by the DEA is a big win for the millions of Americans who use CBD to treat a variety of ailments and medical conditions. As the use of CBD becomes more mainstream, the controls will continue to relax and this can easily trickle down to medical marijuana products containing THC and recreational marijuana itself.
One thing is for sure, Americans now see marijuana dispensaries and recreational pot stores as essential – they’re one of the few places still open in many cities and towns across the nation during the coronavirus outbreak.