In this week’s biggest CBD news development, the Drug Enforcement Agency has rescheduled FDA-approved drugs containing CBD:
With the issuance of this final order, the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration places certain drug products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and which contain cannabidiol (CBD) in schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Specifically, this order places FDA-approved drugs that contain CBD derived from cannabis and no more than 0.1 percent tetrahydrocannabinols in schedule V.
Right now, this change only affects GW Pharmaceuticals’ epilepsy drug Epidiolex. This highly-concentrated CBD formulation was the first cannabis-derived drug to receive FDA approval, and the scheduling change makes it possible to legally bring the drug to the US market later this year.
Previously, the DEA’s position had been that cannabis had no medical value and belonged on the Schedule 1 list alongside LSD and opium. But when the FDA approved Epidiolex earlier this year, the decision gave CBD an ironclad defense against arguments against its therapeutic value.
While this decision is a gift for pharmaceutical companies, the decision clearly states that any CBD preparation that does not have FDA approval and that falls within the definition of “marijuana” will remain on Schedule 1:
As further indicated, any material, compound, mixture, or preparation other than Epidiolex that falls within the CSA definition of marijuana set forth in 21 U.S.C. 802(16), including any non-FDA-approved CBD extract that falls within such definition, remains a schedule I controlled substance under the CSA.
The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill—if it contains the expected language concerning hemp—will explicitly protect cannabinoid extracts like CBD, making the distinction moot.
But this week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Robertson said that the vote on the Farm Bill will not take place as planned in September.
Politico reported yesterday that Roberts hopes that the final vote on the bill will take place in the week after the November 6th midterm election.
The good news is that the industrial hemp provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill will not expire today along with that bill. But the delay means that the more robust protections included in the new bill won’t be on the books for weeks, if not months.
Want to let Congress know how important hemp is to you? The US Hemp Roundtable website has a handy tool that will help you contact your representatives.
This week, FiveThirtyEight applied their critical eye to CBD, taking a look at the data to find out whether CBD actually does anything at all.
The verdict? While “absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence,” more research is needed to substantiate—or refute—claims of its wide-ranging health benefits.
The article also notes the lack of oversight in the CBD industry, leaving consumers vulnerable to careless or deceitful manufacturers. Furthermore, the lack of standards for testing procedures means that different labs can return different results for the same products.
A study published this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that in rats, CBD reduced the motivation to self-administer doses of methamphetamine. It also reduced the likelihood of relapsing to meth-seeking behavior.
While effects in animals don’t always translate to human beings in clinical trials, this is an important step in learning how CBD may be able to help people struggling with addiction.
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