October 9, 2018

DEA Reschedules Epidiolex

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has rescheduled Epidiolex (cannabidiol) oral solution, a drug derived from marijuana, lowering the drug’s federal status from schedule I to schedule V.

After an initial FDA approval in June, the future of Epidiolex – a drug indicated to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome – was uncertain as the drug contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD). Due to DEA regulations surrounding marijuana, the drug was automatically a schedule I drug because it contained marijuana, eliminating doctors’ abilities to prescribe the drug.

However, now that Epidiolex is a schedule V drug – the lowest drug schedule which is reserved for drugs that have proven medical use and low abuse potential – there will be far fewer restrictions to prescribe, dispense, and use the drug.

It should be noted that Epidiolex does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that causes the euphoria associated with marijuana. While other cannabis-derived medications are still automatically classified as schedule I, this decision on the part of the DEA indicates that more marijuana-based medications could see wider use in the future if they are proven to be clinically beneficial. The DEA went as far as to state that they “will continue to support sound and scientific research that promotes legitimate therapeutic uses for FDA-approved constituent components of cannabis.”

For more information, read the DEA press release.

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