The FDA has recently approved a drug derivative of weed for use in the United States for the first time. The medicine is 100% purified cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring compound in cannabis plants, to treat people with rare, overwhelming epilepsy in childhood.
CBD has no psychoactive properties, although the DEA still has it classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, in the same category as marijuana, claiming it has no medical value and has high abuse potential.
Meanwhile, the FDA has determined that CBD has medical uses, and it has a small potential for abuse, and now it is up to the DEA to reclassify cannabis before they can sell it at pharmacies.
CBD Seizure Laws
Researchers before thought that CBD may prevent seizures since 2004 or earlier, cannabis laws made studying the plant next to impossible.
In 2012 and 2013, rumours started to emerge that children who had Dravet’s syndrome (a rare form of severe childhood epilepsy) had significantly reduced their seizures using CBD.
Many states quickly legalized CBD in response, and some also expanded their medical laws so more people could be covered for epilepsy.
More attention from the people and the legalization at the state level allowed researching CBD easier. As a result, many high-quality studies began to look at if CBD can treat epilepsy for those where other medications didn’t work.
Finally, there would be three gold-standard studies that swayed the FDA that CBD does help with aiding seizures.
This marks the first time that a medicine made from the cannabis plant has been approved as an effective and safe medical therapy.
The DEA is Refusing
Sadly, for people with epilepsy, the FDA may approve CBD for medicinal uses, but it is now up to the DEA if CBD becomes legal or not.
If the DEA does not take CBD off the Schedule I list, it will not be in any pharmacies any time soon in the US.
Researchers and the drug manufacturer who got CBD approved by the FDA are confident that the DEA will follow suit and deregulate it soon.
However, recently the DEA was in federal court to try and keep CBD on the Schedule I list.
Strangely, CBD has never even been on the controlled substance list—whereas the THC compound has its listing, and the CBD compound is not mentioned at all on any drug restricting list.
In 2016 the DEA had CBD quietly banned by stating it and everything else made from cannabis such as a “cannabis extract,” consequently CBD just as illegal as THC.
As of right now, the ball is in the DEA’s court, and it is solely up to them if CBD can become legal to help many children live a healthy life with epilepsy.