A medicine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April has been rescheduled by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) allowing it to be prescribed in the US to help treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy.
The drug, Epidiolex, is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals and is the first cannabis based drug to be approved by the FDA. It remained schedule I (the same as heroin, LSD and cocaine) until last week meaning it could not be prescribed by doctors. Schedule I drugs are classed as those having "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
Its important to note however that only Epidiolex itself has been reclassified. On a federal level all forms of cannabis are schedule I and illegal despite some 30 states having some sort of legalisation. This sets an odd precedent where CBD in and FDA approved product is OK but on its own it is considered as dangerous as heroin.
This move also paves the way for other big pharma companies to develop their cannabis products and bring them to market, a move welcomed by many but seen as potentially troublesome by the millions of people worldwide who believe that large corporations, known for price gouging the sick and vulnerable, shouldn't have privileged access to a plant shown to have medicinal benefits.