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FDA Evaluates the Reclassification of Cannabis as Schedule I Substance

A collage of the FDA symbol and medical marijuana signs represent the changing relationship between the two as the DEA looks to reschedule marijuana.

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FDA Evaluates the Reclassification of Cannabis as Schedule I Substance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently evaluating the drug classification of cannabis, an action that could result in downgrading marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance.

FDA conducts for [Health and Human Services] a scientific and medical analysis of the drug under consideration,” FDA Press Officer Jeff Ventura said. “HHS then recommends to DEA that the drug be placed in a given schedule. The DEA considers HHS’s analysis, conducts its own assessment, including such issues as diversion, and makes a final scheduling proposal in the form of a proposed rule.”

As a Schedule I substance, cannabis is currently regarded as having “no accepted medical use” and is considered to have a “high potential for abuse.”

The ultimate power to reclassify a drug rests with the attorney general as the head of the DEA. According to the Controlled Substances Act, the attorney general must consider eight factors in reclassifying a drug. These factors include scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, its history and current pattern of abuse and what, if any, risk there is to public health.

Attorney General Eric Holder stated last month that he would be “glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled.”

Major corporations, such as Prairie Plant Systems and CEN Biotech, actively support the reclassification of cannabis. Marijuana activism organizations, such as the Drug Policy Alliance have also recommended de-scheduling or the complete removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act does not set a deadline for the evaluation to take place, but merely states the action must occur “within a reasonable time.”

In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last Friday, FDA Deputy Director Doug Throckmorton said the DEA requested the FDA conduct a review of marijuana’s classification in 2001 and 2006. Both reviews resulted in the recommendation that cannabis remain a Schedule I substance. The Huffington Post reports this recent DEA review request was made as a result of two public citizens’ petitions.

The FDA has only approved two drugs derived from botanical sources, Throckmorton said. These drugs are Marinol and Cesamet. Marinol includes a synthetic THC while Cesemet contains the synthetic cannabinoid, nabilone. Both have been approved for use in illnesses that involve nausea or vomiting.

In addition, the FDA is currently conducting trials on Epidiolex, a drug made by GW Pharmaceuticals that contains cannabidiol (CBD).

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. koogie

    July 21, 2014 at 12:03 am

    It’s important when the government reviews these guidelines that they don’t conveniently write us the US Taxpayer out of these laws. I can foresee the Federal Government licensing companies like Monsato, and the rest of the scabs. If we’re going to make it legal, make it so everyone can grow it in their yards, and keep the Federal and State Governments out of our god given right!

  2. Jeff Madrid

    July 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

    America was founded on the principle “We the people” but that has clearly gone away,it’s more like “We the people,if the feds agree”. The people have spoken loud and clear in Colorado and Washington, we can only wait for each state to do the same. We are the most compassionate country on the face of the earth, we need to show the same compassion for our own. I believe it will happen, just not soon enough for those in pain.

  3. Ray Soice

    July 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Cannabis needs to be legal and regulated like alcohol tobacco . Far more safe than either alcohol or tobacco . If it was legal would help our national deficit by about 12 billion dollars a year . Need to get the law makers to understand that approximately 58 % of Americans think it needs to legal . Our founding fathers grew and used cannabis what happened people.

  4. DethRegh

    June 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I suffer from depression and have been perscribed antidepressants but all they did was turn me into an emotionless zombie. But I am a cannabis user and after my doctor said I didnt have to take antidepressants anymore, I noticed that marijuana was way more effective than those zombie pills. Instead of not feeling anything, I was again able to feel the full spectrum of emotions. I was able to feel like a human being again.

  5. Igno Raymus

    June 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    If the FDA has any integrity left it will be reclassified , but im not holding my breath. ALL government agencys that are meant to help and protect us , like the FDA, have long been controlled by scumbags with big bucks and ulterior motives,corruption

  6. Rayno

    June 26, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    What i dont understand is why do people still care what the government says about it. THE PEOPLE THAT ARE LEAD BY GOVERNMENTS HAVE MORE POWER THAN PEOPLE RUNNING THE GOVERNMENTS. Its only coz we cannot stand together as one anymore because they have us living in fear. I wish for the next big revolution on government. The system they have been running for so long isnt working and getting out of hand. We need change and dont be affraid for supporting the change. Fuck Democrats and Republicans we need something new. A WORLD REVOLUTION

  7. jesse

    June 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    i think the dea is putting marijuana on the schedule 1 for is not because of it being a drug but for the money and because it saves lives and scared of a big population it will make it.what i also wonder why is the dea worried what we want to do with our bodies thats God’s decision and ours that should be for our religion a freedom we are suppose to have as a amendment we suppose to have but thats all i’m saying so this can’t get me in trouble

  8. Bob Apathy

    June 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I am a Cancer survivor of 38+ years,I had a lumpectomy aka surgery, massive radiation,& chemo.
    Boy they slammers me good,
    I smoked marijuana & it helped me too eat, & it helped too keep me happy & help me forget i was being a lab rat.

  9. James McDonald

    June 26, 2014 at 10:12 am

    This is great news ! Hoping to result in reduction findings ! Get on board America !Legalize IT ! Federally !

  10. Roberta silva

    June 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    $$$$$ is the power behind all this, they don’t care about our health or their own for that matter.

    • ashley

      June 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

      I have a chronic disease that this would help with and all these people can’t see this it’s all about the money could be saving people but nope to easy to do

  11. David Ruud

    June 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Notice the pharmaceutical companies getting approval on 2 drugs with “synthetic” THC or Cannabinoid. Working on approval for a third. The FDA…the DEA…other law makers are so obviously being manipulated…aka…corrupted by the pharmaceutical companies it’s pathetic. Don’t hold your breath for federal approval.

  12. jamie nine

    June 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I am a pancreatic cancer survivor and would rather be able to smoke marijuana than take the morphine&oxicodin that I am now addicted to come on government get with the program. God made the weed man made the pills which do you think is safer.

  13. Dawn Churchward

    June 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I have nf3.. Neurofibromatosis type 2… People with this genetically inherited problem can and do go blind and deaf, become wheel chair bound. If th tumors that grow on the nerves can be slowed or even stopped by cannabis then please, please, please legalise it. I am three quarters deaf and losing the sight in my right eye. I don’t mind being deaf, but becoming blind would make me not want to live

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