DEA Approves Drug Derived From Marijuana

In June the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was approving a cannabis-derived medication for the first time ever. And now the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is following suit.

The DEA announced that for the first time in 46 years it's making a policy change regarding cannabis. The DEA said it will now reschedule cannabis-based medications if they are approved by the FDA. The policy was sort of forced on them, as when the FDA approved Epidiolex, a cannabis-based medication for seizures, the DEA needed to reschedule the drug in order to make it available for consumers.

However, the DEA did make a significant step by reclassifying Epidiolex as a Schedule V narcotic, which is the least strict of the controlled substances and indicates these drugs have a very low potential for abuse. In comparison, marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic indicating it has a high potential for abuse. The DEA said cannabis-based medicines approved by the FDA, as long as they don't contain THC, will be put into Schedule V status.

While this may not seem like a super important development, it actually is significant. The DEA has taken no steps to remove marijuana from its Schedule I status in the past 46 years, and now it's allowing a medication derived from cannabis to be available for purchase. That also indicates that they are acknowledging that cannabis can have medical benefits as well. 

So while it may not actually help marijuana become legal, it does indicate a significant change in perspective from America's anti-drug agency.

(h/t Business Insider)

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I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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