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WIRE: DEA lowers plant-derived medical cannabis to Schedule V

Washington, DC — The US Drug Enforcement Administration has classified Epidiolex, a prescription medicine containing a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), as a Schedule V controlled substance – the lowest restriction classification available under federal law.

The US Food and Drug Administration previously approved the product in June explicitly for the treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It is the first botanically-derived medicine from cannabis to receive US market approval.

A spokesperson for the DEA affirmed that the change is only specific to Epidiolex, and does not amend the schedule I status of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD – stating: “As of right now, any other CBD product other than Epidiolex remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance, so it’s still illegal under federal law.”

The drug’s manufacturer estimates that physicians will be able to begin prescribing the medicine within six weeks. An annual prescription is anticipated to cost patients $32,500.

Schedule V substances, as defined by the US Controlled Substances Act, are medicines deemed to possess a “low potential for abuse,” and are associated with “limited physical dependence or psychological dependence.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

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