by Miranda on 06/02/2017 | Legal & Politics

The DEA Classifies Cannabis Extracts under Schedule 1 of Controlled Substances With No Medical Use

Cannabis extracts In December 2016, the DEA dealt a fresh blow to cannabis. All cannabis extracts, including CBD, are classified under Schedule I of Controlled Substances as drugs with no medical use. The DEA again ignores scientific progress and legalisation campaigns, as well as patients who are already benefiting from the therapeutic applications of cannabis.


On 14 December the DEA dealt a fresh blow to cannabis by introducing a change in its already bizarre classification as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Now, all cannabis extracts including Cannabidiol (CBD) are classified and listed under Schedule I together with heroin and other dangerous narcotic substances, as a “drug with no medical use.” This shows once again that the federal government has chosen to ignore the scientific progress being made, as well as the huge numbers of patients who are currently benefiting from these therapeutic applications of cannabis all over the world.

The DEA Classifies Cannabis Extracts under Schedule 1 of Controlled Substances With No Medical Use

It seems that despite the progress thus far in terms of cannabis legalisation,  the DEA  (Drug Enforcement Administration) still chooses to ignore decades of scientific and medical data that have already proven, and recognised the fact that cannabis and its active components or cannabinoids- such as CBD – have a wide range of medical and therapeutic applications.

The new code  which the DEA has just created classifies all cannabis extractions or extracts – including CBD oil, which is currently available as a  dietary supplement  and without medical prescription –  under   Schedule I, in the context of the Federal Controlled Substances Act . This is the same list to which heroin, ecstasy, LSD and other substances considered dangerous belong, and where unfortunately cannabis still remains.

Why create a separate code for cannabis extracts?

The DEA has announced the creation of a separate code number for  cannabis extracts  which it defines as   extracts which contain one or more cannabinoids derived from any plant of the Cannabis genus, and different from the separated resin (either raw or purified) obtained from the plant.

The DEA is the American antidrug agency, which is under the Department of Justice
The DEA is the American antidrug agency, which is under the Department of Justice

Although this new code does not mean a new federal law has been passed, those people who have been producing CBD in the understanding that cannabis-derived products with a THC content of less than 0.3% were legal are now finding out that this is no longer the case.

According to the federal agency,  this code will allow bodies registered with the DEA and the DEA itself to separately track the amounts of this substance separately from the amounts of   marijuana (cannabis) , as well as complying with the   international drug control treaties governed by the United Nations. These treaties make a distinction between the regulatory checks for cannabis extracts and those for cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinols – for which the DEA had already created separate codes.

The purpose of this new code – according to the statements made by DEA spokesperson Russell Baer – is to develop and gather more precise data from research being conducted on CBD specifically, given that at present, when researchers request authorisation to conduct these scientific studies with or on cannabis from the DEA, there is no regulation which requires them to specify whether they intend to work only on cannabis or cannabis extracts.

Companies or organisations which produce and/or sell CBD-based products will have to register with the agency under the new code which has specifically been created for “Marijuana Extracts”, code 7350 – whereas code 7360 is for marijuana – and they will have to renew this registration yearly.  The deadline set for the registration process is only thirty days from 14 December. If they fail to complete the formalities within this deadline, they will be in violation of federal law.

According to Baer himself: “(The changes in the regulation) recognise that there is a beneficial medical potential in some cannabinoids,” and he added that there is no big conspiracy going on, nor is this connected to the country’s change of president.

What has the reaction been to this measure?

However, critical voices were not long in coming This three-page document has provoked outrage from the cannabis industry, who warn of its possible consequences. Cannabis experts called the measure worrying, misguided  and yet another proof of the DEA’s ignorance and total contempt for cannabis .

This is because every day we have more and more evidence and data which show that  CBD  in particular, and  cannabinoids  in general, basically help people, by improving their health and, as a result, their quality of life. Therefore, it is absurd to classify it in such a restrictive class that of heroin, through a decision which only benefits the pharmaceutical industry whose intention seems to be to carry on restricting access to the plant.

Besides questions on the  legality  of this provision, it undoubtedly is a setback which could   hamper and restrict research work on medical cannabis , which has already resulted in effective medicines based on cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.  It is worth bearing in mind that the medical cannabis industry basically focuses on the production of  CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid  which helps relieve pain or reduce inflammation, amongst numerous  other therapeutic applications.

Cannabis extracts are classified under Schedule I as substances with no medical use
Cannabis extracts are classified under Schedule I as substances with no medical use

The US anti-drug agency might well have exceeded and gone beyond its remit, since it can enforce laws but not create them.  By creating a completely new class called “marijuana extracts,” it is trying to control all cannabinoids and make them illegal, despite having no authority to do so.

It is important to remember that since 8 November  a majority of US states have laws which legalise some types of medical marijuana , including over ten states with laws on low THC or CBD content for specific medical purposes. These laws and other measures taken by various states on cannabis contradict federal laws.

The notion that they can classify cannabis and now CBD, as well as cannabis extracts (psychoactive or otherwise), as narcotic substances included in Schedule I together with heroin, reveals their utmost contempt for the truth and flies in the face of facts.

Drugs on the market made from cannabis extracts

Pharmaceutical firms have for years been trying to  standardise the active ingredients of the cannabis plant , specifically their formulation, composition and dosage.  At present there are four approved medicines on the market,   two approved by the FDA, another approved in the United Kingdom and much of Europe, and a fourth medicine which has been recently developed.

Dronabinol (Marinol®)  contains THC and is used as an antiemetic, to relieve symptoms such as nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatments, and for treating anorexia/cachexia (extreme weight loss) in patients with HIV or terminal cancer.

Nabilona (Cesamet®) contains a synthetic cannabinoid analogue of THC and is also used as an antiemetic.

Sativex ® , which contains an almost equal proportion of THC and CBD, is approved at present in the United Kingdom and several European countries for treating spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis (MS)   and for pain relief in patients with cancer, and is currently undergoing phase III clinical trials in the US.

Finally, Epidiolex™, which is still being tested in clinical trials to determine its efficacy and safety, and is a recently developed CBD-based drug for treating some forms of childhood epilepsy, such as  Dravet syndrome .

Real first-hand accounts from patients which show how misguided the DEA is

If the pharmaceutical industry invests in developing medicines produced from extracts of the cannabis plant, it is because of something else besides the fact that it may have some medical use which has not yet been proven.  The DEA classifies cannabis and cannabis extracts as substances with no medical value, even though  centuries of history , as well as  first-hand accounts from patients and data from experts – doctors and academics  –  now show otherwise.

Sensi Seeds CBD oil can relieve severe pain
Sensi Seeds CBD oil can relieve severe pain

We can find out about thousands of these  stories from the internet , from videos recorded by patients themselves on YouTube, increasingly from the mass media, through  documentaries  which tell us about their experiences.  Thousands of  first-hand accounts from patients , people with illnesses who have experienced how cannabis in its various forms can help improve the symptoms of their disease, and the quality of their life. Some have even personally experienced an unexpected cure from the disease which they had not thought was possible.

For instance,  the story of the Canadian Rick Simpson , who since becoming famous in 2008 from the launch of the documentary Run From The Cure on YouTube has continuously shared with and throughout the world his method for producing cannabis extract – Rick Simpson’s popular oil called RSO – which he maintains can cure cancer and other diseases, and which is what happened to him.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)  is amongst the diseases for which cannabis and cannabinoid-based treatments are hugely beneficial.  On the Sensi Seeds blog you can read up more interviews and articles about the stories of British patients  Clark French  and  Michelle X , who have since become cannabis activists as a result. Both suffer from MS and use cannabis to treat their disease, but because the plant is illegal they must fight for their right to treat themselves with cannabis. An further example of the senselessness of cannabis prohibition.

Very recently, we also found out about  the case of Thea Hali , a patient who suffers from rheumatism, a complex regional pain syndrome, and who was diagnosed with the gene for aggressive breast cancer, BRCA1.  Thanks to  Sensi Seeds’ CBD oil , just two days after she started taking it the severity of the pain lessened – which enabled the dose of morphine to be reduced – and moreover, she then started experiencing improved focus and greater mental clarity.

Why does the DEA persist in refusing to recognise the medical value of cannabis?

Last spring, speculations were growing as to whether the DEA could, in the summer, consider reclassifying cannabis under another Schedule of Controlled Substances and one which would recognise its medical value.  But once again the rumours proved baseless and nothing came of them.   What do you expect from an agency led by someone who thinks medical cannabis is a  joke!

“The decision is not based on harm. The decision is based on whether marijuana is a safe and effective medicine, and it is not,” argued Chuck Rosenberg, the current head and administrator of the DEA.

Cannabis and cannabis extracts have proven medical properties
Cannabis and cannabis extracts have proven medical properties

The Antidrug Agency is sticking to its guns by saying that  cannabis, and now cannabis extracts such as CBD oil have a high potential for abuse, currently have no acceptable medical applications, and moreover lack basic safety standards which would make them acceptable for medical use. In support of its stance it references, amongst others, the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) and the NIDA.

“At present, the known risks of using marijuana have not been outweighed by the specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials which scientifically evaluate its safety and efficacy.  Long term use of marijuana can lead to physical dependency, psychic addiction or dependency,” explained Rosenberg.

But what Rosenberg does not tell us is the reason behind his surreal determination in denying facts. He seems immune to the opinion of the majority of healthcare professionals in the US and a large body of knowledge and scientific data which prove otherwise. To begin with,  the very history of cannabis prohibition and its inclusion in Schedule I is very controversial and, undoubtedly, questionable.

Cannabis and cannabis extracts work. And that is what science, and the patients who use it, tell us. Therefore, both substances should be included in Schedule II of Controlled Substances, so that they can stop being criminalised by federal law and have their medical use recognised.

Already in 1988, the DEA’s own administrative law judge Francis Young said as much  when he recommended declassifying cannabis in response to a petition by a group of activists:  “marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to Man. From the perspective of any rational analysis, marijuana can be safely used as part of a supervised medical treatment routine.”

Of course, the DEA rejected their petition, and it has continued to ignore the numerous appeals and recommendations it has been receiving over the years, and continues to receive, from a wide variety of sources. This includes proposals from both government bodies as well as independent and private initiatives.

The DEA is determined not to recognise the medical value of cannabis
The DEA is determined not to recognise the medical value of cannabis

Although it is still possible that Congress could decide to reclassify CBD extracts and other cannabinoids, which would eliminate some of the Kafkaesque bureaucracy which researchers face if they want to study cannabis active compounds, it seems that the draft bill which was presented to the Senate last year to ease the restrictions on CBD research has been shelved, despite having the support of the majority parties.

It is obvious that whilst the rest of the world follows a more or less clear path, the DEA persists in refusing to recognise that this path is even possible, that others are already treading it. It remains paralysed, stuck, and has no idea what it is waiting for and does nothing else but intrude on people.

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Tom Speed

This is what a Cabal looks like when abusing power to defend its PROPERTY RIGHTS:

"Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

Original Assignee: The United States Of America As Represented By The Department Of Health And Human Services"

The 'DEA' is protecting this ^.

10/02/2017

Nina

Tom Speed: Just to add clarity to your comment above. This is US patent No 6,630,507 B1 "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants." Hampson et al, filed on April 21, 1999, issued on Oct 7, 2003. Fortunately, the patent should expire 17 years from the issue date (Oct 7, 2003) or 20 years from the filing date (April 21, 1999) thus in 2020 or 2019. The information revealed in the patent (26 pages) is nothing short of mind-blowing. Cannabis compounds are explicitly described as "particularly beneficial" as an antioxidant, being able to cross the blood-brain barrier in preventing, arresting or treating neurological damage such as in Parkinson´s, Alzheimer´s and HIV dementia, in autoimmune neurodegeneration in e.g. encephalitis, and hypoxic or anoxic neuronal damage resulting from apnea, respiratory or cardiac arrest, and anoxia caused by drowning, brain surgery or trauma (concussion or spinal cord shock). and “particularly useful as a neuroprotective”. "The therapeutic potential of non-psychoactive cannabinoids is particularly promising". It states that cannabidiol is not toxic, even when chronically administered to humans, or given in large acute doses (700 mg/day). The patent also discusses different routes of administration and dosing regimens. It is totally loopy logic to state it is a Schedule 1 dangerous drug with no therapeutic value while the patent DHSS was granted specifically states the contrary.The fact that these government researchers knew over 20 years ago that cannabinoids had great potential in multiple diseases and patented this information to keep control over it is immoral, unethical and fringing on being a crime against humanity. Is Chuck Rosenberg of the DEA not aware of the DHHS patent? Is this guy ignorant, incompetent or just intellectually dishonest? How embarrassing. While the rest of the world is making progress in the medicinal cannabis legislation, it seems the US is marching backwards into the future. When scientific logic does not prevail then there must be another reason for refusal. What are the financial rewards for maintaining the status quo? Follow the money trail. After all, if one plant product such as cannabis has multiple therapeutic uses it would make many expensive pharmaceutical drugs redundant. And the FDA depends heavily on the fees they charge for pharmaceutical drug approval and registration maintenance. It pays their salaries. With less pharmaceuticals they might find their income stream diminishing and worse still, their jobs disappearing. So it kind of makes sense for him to be protecting the interests of the pharma industry.

13/06/2017

Suzanne O'Mullan

Unfortunately the pharmaceuticals have all the power. This is exactly what is happening with the vaccines and pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceuticals are so powerful that they have had our government pass a law where families of children who have had severe vaccine damage cannot sue. They are immune from being sued imagine that. The power of the pharmaceutical companies is so great I'm on sure that even the cannabis community can break through. The CDC centers for disease control is in bed with the pharmaceuticals. I wouldn't doubt that the DEA is also in bed with them. Pharmaceuticals make billions of dollars and hurt our kids. I have a son who has been vaccine damaged and has suffered for 23 years to which I can do nothing about He recently had a severe side effects to an antipsychotic where his brain swelled and we almost lost him I have been treating my son with cannabis for the past six days and all I can tell you is that it is nothing less than a miracle He normally doesn't sleep past two hours with the combination of four meds. He slept six hours two nights ago and seven hours last night My son smiled at me for the first time in 23 years yesterday I have everything documented on little videos for the befores the Afters just in case someone cares enough to see it if it ever gets that far in DC Unfortunately pharmaceuticals are so big and power it's going to take unbelievable amount of power to bring them down I'm not writing this about pro vaccine or anti-vaccine I'm writing this to share what I know about how powerful the pharmaceuticals are and what this cannabis community is up against because it's not the DEA that's driving this it's the pharmaceuticals just my two cents

10/02/2017

Suzanne

I forgot to add if cannabis were taken off of this list the pharmaceuticals would lose billions of dollars in all of their medications that they have on the market. If you really want to see how the Center for disease control works look up The Tuskegee experiment on YouTube and watch it this makes me nauseous beyond words Our government is still doing this to people E.g. Recent cannabis decision.

10/02/2017

Ryan

Very nice article. Im glad the states have started taking action to allow the development of cannabis. Its hard to deal with such a level of arrogance like this from the DEA, best to just keep letting the truth come out and it will eventually out shine. Cannabis has come a long way in recent years

10/02/2017

Jim Stevens

If anyone wants any proof or data of cannabis is harmful in any shape or form ,then just ask the people who had put cannabis to the test since at least since the 1960's I have 20 years of daily use until 1987 when I stopped because I would cough to much. and that's is be cause I also smoked two packs of Kools a day. I don't mind ignorance that's just not knowing "like most people are ignorant as how to fix a motorcycle". But I can't stand stupid people and that's what the D. E. A. is. Dumb Earrogent Assholes.
(spelling)
Jim,

Now with cancer, and I'm not going to let these stupid people treat me anymore. All of the opeoides come from a plant, a flower "poppy"(So whats the difference between the two flowers?) Cannabis has no side effects and you cant overdose or die from using to much at one time and I'm going to cure my cancer with using it weather you like or not. You might have to sleep or have a read good happy day.
Its time to admit defeat DEA you have lost and the people have spoken and will do so on other areas the government has tried to take from us

03/06/2017

Chris Damas

This hardly classifies as news as it was in the Federal Register on December 14 but I suppose putting it in big type makes six month old news more attractive.

12/06/2017

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