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In a news release today, the FDA announced its approval of a marijuana-derived drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures in a subset of patients suffering from severe epilepsy. Epidiolex contains CBD, a cannabis chemical compound skyrocketing in popularity and driving what is estimated to have doubled into a $200 million market in 2018.
The FDA news signals that the DEA will likely adjust its scheduling for CBD, which is currently a Schedule I substance, denoting high potential for abuse and no medical applications.
“The FDA prepares and transmits… a medical and scientific analysis of substances subject to scheduling, like CBD, and provides recommendations to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding controls under the [Controlled Substances Act],” the FDA stated, indicating that it will recommend that CBD be rescheduled but the act of shifting the substance’s legality is ultimately in the DEA’s hands.
Prior to the FDA decision, a press officer for the DEA confirmed to Leaflythat the FDA decision will prompt action from the DEA. “If they on June 27 announce that they’re approving Epidiolex, absolutely we’ll go into a different schedule. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”