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America’s DEA Reschedules CBD-derived Drug

The United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently issued a rescheduling order for certain cannabidiol-derived drugs. While the order only applies to certain pharmaceuticals that must meet several criteria, it is a step in the right direction for American patients that rely on CBD products and the world CBD market at large.

 Until now, all products containing CBD fell under the Schedule I classification, meaning that CBD had “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” under the eyes of the DEA. Certain CBD products have now been reclassified to Schedule V as drugs with a low potential for abuse and valid medicinal uses.

 The changes are not as sweeping as many had hoped, requiring CBD products to meet several criteria to be protected by the new classification. These criteria were defined in the order published in the Federal Register late last month:

 “Specifically, this order places FDA-approved drugs that contain CBD derived from cannabis and no more than 0.1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol in schedule V.”

 At the time of writing, only one drug meets the DEA’s criteria. Epidiolex is an anti-seizure medication developed by UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals that has been making headlines in the CBD community. The drug was derived from CBD and developed to relieve the symptoms of patients with severe forms of epilepsy such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

 According to the results of a trial published by the American Epilepsy Society, 39% of young patients who were treated with Epidiolex experienced a greater than 50% reduction in seizure activity. Because of its high efficacy for treating children with debilitating seizures, it went on to become the first CBD-derived drug to be approved by the FDA.

 Cannabidiol consumers and businesses alike continue to monitor the relaxing legal status of CBD in the US. Much of the worldwide CBD market is comprised of Canadian, American, and British growers, producers, and sellers that collaborate across international borders. Policy changes, no matter how small, expand access for patients who rely on CBD as well as open up new opportunities for the growing CBD market.