Cannabis has a lower potential for abuse than other substances subject to the same restrictions, and its use as a medicinal drug is supported by science, according to scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who supported its reclassification as a Schedule III substance. Cannabis is currently classified as Schedule I, reserved for the most dangerous controlled substances, including heroin.
In a historic move on Friday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials supported reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule III substance. The move would make medical cannabis and the research supporting it legal at the federal level, although they would still be subject to stringent regulations similar to those under which hormone therapies and ketamine are subjected.
The 252-page document recommending that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reclassify cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) begins with a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. It states that “cannabis meets the requirements of Schedule III.”
The FDA’s analysis of eight factors (which is always the same) concluded that cannabis “has a currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States” and is “not an immediate precursor to another controlled substance.”
Read more on the subject and find the most important cannabis news from around the world with the Hemp.im mobile app.
Under section 21 USC 811(b) of the CSA, the eight factors that determine drug control are:
Its actual or relative abuse potential.
Scientific evidence regarding its pharmacological effect, where known.
The state of current scientific knowledge about a drug or other substance.
History and current pattern of abuse.
Extent, duration and significance of abuse.
Possible risk to public health.
Potential for psychological or physiological dependence.
Whether the substance is a direct precursor of an already controlled substance.
The documents clearly show that cannabis has been recognized as having medical value, and 43 states in the US have the authority to recommend the medical use of cannabis.
This marks the first time that the FDA has recommended that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) place cannabis on Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The law surrounding medical marijuana and adult use in the United States is based primarily on state and local laws, which have always been in conflict with federal law.
Please note that Schedule III drugs are still strictly regulated and require a prescription:
ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone. Schedule III substances are defined as drugs with a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence”, with less potential for abuse than Schedule I and II drugs but greater than those in Schedule IV. Under Schedule III, Internal Revenue Code 280E (IRC 280E) will no longer apply to cannabis-related businesses, which would mean they could benefit from tax deductions. However, reclassification to Schedule III will not legalize cannabis programs at the state level.
Members of the FDA’s Controlled Substances staff write in documents that the agency recommends rescheduling cannabis because it meets three criteria:
Lower potential for abuse than other Schedule I and II substances
Currently accepted medical use in treatment in the USA
Low to moderate risk of physical dependence in abusers
The National Institute on Drug Abuse agrees with the recommendation.
Rescheduling cannabis could open up more research opportunities, allow cannabis companies to bank more freely and openly, and ensure that companies are no longer subject to the 40-year-old tax code that prohibits credits and deductions from income generated by the sale of Schedule I and II Substances.
On October 6th, 2022, President Biden directed federal agencies to quickly consider reclassifying cannabis from the most restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule. In response to this move, various organizations and companies have provided comments to the FDA.
On August 29th, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended to the DEA that cannabis be reclassified from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug.
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First published in FaktyKonopne. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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