Cannabidiol or CBD is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I drug under its new drug code, along with other cannabis extracts. The DEA’s new drug code makes it clear that marijuana – in all its forms, including its extracts – is illegal under federal law. This also means that the federal government considers CBD to have no medical value and to be just as dangerous and harmful as heroin and LSD, with high potential for abuse.
The new drug code also ensures that CBD oil and other products derived from marijuana extracts are treated similarly as any marijuana strain.
It can be recalled that before the DEA announced its new drug code, the legality of CBD was rather vague and was subject to different interpretations. CBD extracts from medical cannabis was assumed to be only legal for patients who need it for treatment and illegal for the rest. Yet CBD from industrial hemp was being made available across the country and sold as if it was legal, federally speaking.
Unlike the cannabis compound or cannabinoid THC – or tetrahydrocannabinol – CBD does not get you high. What it does, though, is help stop seizures and help in the treatment of many medical conditions. CBD has also been proven to reduce anxiety, relieve vomiting and nausea, relieve pain, and promote cardiovascular health. CBD also has anti-inflammatory and anti-psychotic effects.
This is the reason why the DEA’s move to finalize the illegal status of CBD under its new drug code has earned the ire of many patients who have turned to medical cannabis to deal with their conditions.
Cannabis supporters are arguing that the U.S. Congress has already approved a bill that increases researchers’ access to marijuana in order for them to better study CBD extracts and their health benefits. Because of this legislation, they are saying that the DEA had lost its right to classify CBD as a Schedule I substance, and the authorization given by congress overrides the DEA’s mandate.
However, the new distinction actually allows the DEA to track marijuana-related scientific studies more efficiently. More specifically, the DEA will be able to determine which research applications pertain to the study of the entire cannabis plant and which ones will be working on the plant’s extracts, such as CBD. This is an improvement from the old code, wherein the DEA had to authorize applications pertaining to the studies of marijuana, in general, without knowing the specifics.
By being able to make this distinction under the new code, the DEA also hopes to comply with international drug control treaties.
Moreover, the DEA stated that its move was actually an “internal accounting mechanism” that would provide the administration with more accurate data on any CBD study they have authorized.
The DEA’s action, however, is speculated to be illegal, or at least an interference that would only slow down any ongoing research.
Colorado-based cannabis attorney Robert Hoban contended that the DEA’s move was beyond its authority. According to him, the DEA does not have the power to create the law, only the power to enforce it.
Hoban added that with the DEA creating its own sub-section on the new drug code pertaining to marijuana extract, it is effectively attempting to make its own rules with regard to CBD and how it will be handled at federal level. He also said that the DEA does not have the authority to declare cannabinoids as illegal.
Many marijuana proponents also noted the DEA’s temporary ban on Kratom, a herbal pain reliever. Kratom and CBD oil are both alternatives to prescription opiates, which are more dangerous. They believe that the DEA’s actions prove that it is protecting big pharmaceutical companies and their pockets more than they are protecting the health of the Americans.