On Wednesday, the DEA took yet another swipe at marijuana by amending its already bizarre classification of pot as a Schedule I drug. Now, all extracts, including cannabidiol (CBD), will be listed right up there with heroin as a “drug with no medical use.”
Tell that to the thousands of epilepsy sufferers, who are mercifully enjoying relief from intractable epilepsy and polymorphic seizures.
Under their new drug code, entitled “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” the DEA announced it was “creating a separate code number for marihuana extract with the following definition: ‘Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.’ Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”
The DEA is essentially giving itself license to better track which scientists are studying marijuana and which ones are researching CBD and other extracts. At the moment, when researchers apply to the DEA for permission to study weed, there’s no way for them to specify whether they intend to only work on extracts.
“It’s an internal accounting mechanism for us,” DEA spokesperson Russell Baer told VICE News. “The purpose is to drill down and get more accurate information about research that’s being conducted with CBD in particular.”
In addition to the fact that this move is likely illegal, it is clearly backward and could obstruct medical research efforts that have already produced effective CBD-derived medications. One such medication is Epidiolex, developed by GW Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of Dravet’s Syndrome, which recently came one step closer to FDA approval.
“This action is beyond the DEA’s authority,” Robert Hoban, a Colorado cannabis attorney and adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver, told the International Business Times. “The DEA can only carry out the law, they cannot create it. Here, they’re purporting to create an entirely new category called ‘marijuana extracts,’ and by doing so wrest control over all cannabinoids. They want to call all cannabinoids illegal. But they don’t have the authority to do that.”
The idea of classifying weed and now CBD, as well as cannabis extracts (psychoactive or not), as a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin is nothing less than an outrage.
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