High Hopes Ride on Cannabis Amid Opioid Crisis Jesse Ventura Is Fighting To Legalize Marijuana California expands marijuana rules, will allow deliveries Study: Cannabis users tend to be more successful, happy Cannabis could be a $5-billion boon to the state — but many users may stay illegal Rescheduling Marijuana: How it Works California could be a ‘sanctuary state’ from federal cannabis laws Older Women and Medical Cannabis: A Growth Industry France to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession, Interior Minister Says Epilepsy drug derived from marijuana is close to federal approval Vermont Governor Rejects Marijuana Bill, Wants Changes Marijuana App ‘WeGrow’ Wants To Bring Flower To The People States move fast to protect marijuana industry American Legion to Trump: Allow cannabis research for vets Washington law paves way for organic marijuana market Oregon Economic Forecast Includes Marijuana For The First Time No sanctuary for cannabis in California New Jersey mom turns marijuana into money Women have lead role in new marijuana businesses in Washington State Want to be a budtender? Here’s How. Marijuana May Boost, Rather Than Dull, the Elderly Brain Trump Rejects Congress as He Signals Medical Marijuana Fight The Cannabis Industry Is Getting Super-Sized 87% Of Players Say NFL Should Allow Medical Marijuana Access Pot brownies could lose potency under proposed California rules Cannabis Prices Get Higher After Recovering From 2016 Bust Study proves the importance of using Medical Cannabis The Trump crackdown on legal marijuana might not happen Varying marijuana laws pose questions for air travelers Marijuana – Miracle treatment for children with autism Marijuana workers get the California seal of approval Is Legal Marijuana the Last Bipartisan Cause in America? Marijuana activists vow to smoke and get arrested on steps of U.S. Capitol Most Americans Support Pro Athletes Using Marijuana for Pain Relief California Cannabis Is Going Industrial Trump’s drug czar pick has strong “no” vote record on marijuana Billions In Marijuana Taxes Are Addictive To State Governors The Holy Land of Medical Marijuana Oregon lawmakers vote to block cannabis users’ info from feds Marijuana legalization grows closer with Senate tax proposal Jerry Jones’s marijuana proposal could save NFL players’ lives The problem with America’s marijuana DUI laws John Oliver – Update Federal Marijuana Laws The way people buy legal marijuana will change in 2019 DOJ Wants Information On Colorado Marijuana Cases Oregon lawmakers introduce laws to protect legal recreational marijuana Public support for legal marijuana surged in 2016 Federal Marijuana Hostility Wrong Addiction Specialists Ponder a Potential Aid: Marijuana Dozens of industries could see a boost from legal marijuana Oregon May Declare Emergency Over Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Threats Maximizing the Medical Effects of Marijuana Marijuana Legalization Opponents Were Wrong Oxford University announces new £10m medical marijuana research program Pro-marijuana church in Alabama: Members tout ‘God and cannabis’ Every State Could Legalize Marijuana by 2021- The Motley Fool 25% of US beer drinkers have switched to marijuana or would if it was legal Colorado Rep. Jared Polis has a plan to keep marijuana safe from Sessions Good science on marijuana is hard to find Jeff Sessions: Marijuana Is “Only Slightly Less Awful” Than Heroin Federal Marijuana Crimes Drop For Fifth Consecutive Year Jeff Sessions Will Enforce Federal Marijuana Laws In An ‘Appropriate Way’ Beer Industry Could Lose $2 Billion From Legal Marijuana Pot for pets: Owners treat sick animals with marijuana Marijuana Legalization Hasn’t Increased Traffic Fatalities Don’t let Big Marijuana prioritize profits over public safety The future of recreational marijuana in Trump’s America Idaho customers breathe life into tiny Oregon marijuana town Elizabeth Warren to Jeff Sessions “Respect state marijuana law” Doctors warn against teen pot use as marijuana laws loosen Will Edible And Concentrate Marijuana Brands Get As Big As Budweiser? 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Rescheduling Marijuana: How it Works

Rescheduling Marijuana

rescheduling marijuana

Just last week, DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg made headlines when he declared “marijuana is not medicine” during a speech at a Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. He went on to say, “”if it turns out that there is something in smoked marijuana that helps people, that’s awesome… But let’s run it through the Food and Drug Administration process, and let’s stick to the science on it.”  Yet, we’ve all seen dozens of headlines stating that cannabis has been proven as an effective treatment for various forms of epilepsy, PTSD, chronic pain, and much more.  So if scientists, credible labs, and in some cases, even the FDA, are coming out and saying cannabis has medical value, why is the DEA still unwilling to reschedule the drug?

To understand why cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug we have to go back to the 1970’s. Signed on October 27th, 1970, the Controlled Substances Act declared a war on drugs that we’re still experiencing the consequences of nearly 5 decades later; one which was recently given new life by AG Jeff Sessions. In order to evaluate, regulate, and enforce drug policy, then-President Nixon established the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The FDA is charged with evaluating drug efficacy, regulating testing procedures, and if appropriate, recommending schedule changes based on findings that prove a drug to provide medical value. The DEA then takes the recommendation of the FDA under consideration before deciding if any action is needed.

So why hasn’t the FDA been able to convince the DEA that cannabis contains medical properties and value? They have – several times actually. By granting FDA approval to synthetic cannabis drugs like Marinol in 1999 and Syndros just this year, the FDA seems pretty convinced that there’s at least something medically valuable in cannabis. So, why then, hasn’t the DEA rescheduled marijuana?

The DEA wants more evidence. However, in order to collect that evidence, institutions wishing to study cannabis must navigate miles of red tape with minimal guidance. Assuming they can reach the point of actually needing cannabis to study, researchers hit another hurdle when they find out that there is only one provider of cannabis for federal testing purposes, which leaves them with little diversity in the study and not to mention that the cannabis they cultivate is of relatively poor quality.  It’s the classic catch-22: proving the plant’s efficacy requires more research, but the DEA is in charge of granting research permits; something they have been hesitant to do.

Despite the bureaucracy, there are studies under way. One study, led by Dr. Sue Sisley, is measuring the effects of cannabis treatment for Veterans suffering from PTSD. She is working with around 60 volunteers (out of over 5,000 applicants) to find out if cannabis is a viable treatment for PTSD in hopes of presenting those findings to the DEA; it wasn’t easy though. After gaining FDA approval in 2010 the study was hit by delays until finally receiving DEA approval in 2016. “I walk in here every day and feel so honored,” Sisley said. “I can’t even tell you … just finally seeing the study implemented and the gratitude of these veterans.”

Now that evidence is being gathered, it’s only a matter of time until cannabis is legalized across the country, right? Not so fast. Even if the FDA and DEA agree on rescheduling, the Attorney General can still put a halt on the whole thing by referencing the point in the CSA about a drug’s potential for abuse. That’s right; that loosely defined characteristic essentially grants decision-making power for AG Jeff Sessions to continue prohibition, whether science says it’s medically valuable or not.

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