FDA Seeks for Public Opinion About Descheduling Marijuana

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comment (yep, that means you) regarding the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance under both U.S. law and international drug agreements. The FDA is putting together a recommendation for the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is currently reviewing the international classification of cannabis, including THC, CBD and other cannabinoids.

Cannabis was listed in the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a Schedule I drug in 1961, and the WHO says that cannabis is “the most commonly used psychoactive substance under international control.” Schedule I drugs include LSD and heroin–drugs that are considered high risk for abuse and addiction and that have no currently accepted medical use.

The FDA is specifically looking for input regarding the “abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of” marijuana. The FDA will forward public comments to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO). Recommendations from the WHO are used to inform public health policy and drug laws.

In December, the WHO released a preliminary review of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana, that said CBD should not be scheduled as a controlled substance. They concluded that CBD has a low potential for abuse and that it “has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials” and “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”

The preliminary review also found that “there is no evidence of…any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

The deadline to submit public comments to the FDA is April 23.

Want to support the declassification of cannabis, but you don’t know where to start? NORML has posted a pre-drafted comment on their website, and they will be hand delivering all comments to the FDA.