What began as a day full of promise for vape juice with cbd and cannabis activism quickly turned to confusion about the state of CBD Legality. After big news broke about the likely change to the government’s CBD DEA classification of the compound as a Schedule-1 drug, the potential for big changes to both its accessibility and legal availability with the flick of a pen were in the air.
Instead, the law enforcement agency opted to simply reclassify CBD as it relates to a singular product, Epidiolex, which had been approved for consumer use by the Food and Drug Administration back in June. Hopeful industry insiders are pointing toward this decision by the DEA as a harbinger of a likely redefinition across the board in the near future. In fact, during a conversation with Business Insider, DEA public-affairs officer Barbara Carreno said that the shift from previous connotation as a recreational drug to medical treatment would likely cause a “sea change” for the CBD industry.
Now, whether this means the entire cannabis plant will be reclassified or simply that they intend to intensify their oversight and hands-on regulation of prominent vendors and manufacturers is unclear. However, with this next step CBD users wonder if this recent decision of the DEA reclassifying CBD will open the market up wider legally, or simply allow Big Pharma and companies with deeper pockets to invest in research to dominate the industry and squeeze out smaller operations.
Will the DEA Reclassify CBD Products Across the Board?
Cannibidiol had been classified as a Schedule-1 substance since 1972, as it was included as a primary component of the cannabis plant. However, given the wave of popularity and prominent products containing the compound, it was revisited, possibly due to its non-psychoactive effects and its low potential for abuse. Yet again, the DEA classified CBD specifically back in December of 2016 as a Schedule-1 substance, which again put it in the same category as mind altering opiates with heavily addictive and detrimental properties.
Given that most users do not feel or experience any concrete effects of CBD usage, there is a very low likelihood that CBD could be used as an illicit substance alone. Understand, many cannabidiol products, including Hot Juice CBD use a 99% pure CBD isolate that contains ZERO THC, which means there is no potential for intoxication, regardless of the dosage. As a result, there is no reason these products should not be eligible for reclassification so long as they do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in cannabis attributed with mind-altering effects.
That said, after the FDA approved Epidiolex as a reputable and justifiable drug treatment for rare genetic disorders, the DEA was given a 90-day period to change their stance on the compound. Rather than reclassifying cannabis on the whole, or CBD specifically, they chose to reclassify a single product and leave the door open solely for FDA-approved items. As a result, they have set what appears to be special rules for the sale of CBD-based products that apply only to products that meet with FDA parameters, seemingly setting the companies who can afford to pay for trials and testing at the forefront of those approvals. Further stipulations apply to products which contain 0.01% or less tetrahydrocannabinol, thereby excluding most, if not all “full spectrum CBD” products with active THC content between that minimum and the 0.3% cap that they are allowed to have in order to meet the definition.
With that in mind, the real question on everyone’s minds is; now that they’ve finally given a singular drug produced by a major pharmaceutical company what equates to an endorsement while leaving the rest of the hemp-derived THC-free products to remain off-limits on a federal level, does it constitute a degree of favoritism? At the very least, in terms of constitutional law, it may present an opportunity for pro-CBD activists to bring a case before the courts arguing in favor of broad reclassification and legalization.
What Does the CBD DEA Stance Say About Their Latest Move?
While this may seem like a trivial action forced into being by FDA approval of Epidiolex, it’s possibly a move that could seal the fate of the future of CBD on a consumer level. By granting exclusive rights not afforded small mom-and-pop operations, they are stifling competition which could, again open up CBD study to be revisited under the law as it relates to holding a monopoly on production. It’s unclear how this was decided, but after the FDA decision back in June of 2018 to approve Epidiolex as a treatment for a duo of rare and detrimental genetic disorders, the FDA put significant pressure on the DEA to reclassify not just this singular consumer product but CBD itself.
To explain, it doesn’t seem that far from the realm of expectations that a compound which does not create any mind or mood-altering effects, very low potential for abuse (as is what typically defines Schedule-V substances) and is derived from a genus of the hemp plant, which is legally used for industrial production, and naturally low in THC (which is then often fully extracted), to gain some measure of approval given the benefits purported by products such as Epidiolex.
Again, at this point, everything other than the drug approval and singular reclassification for it’s sale are all based on speculative possibilities of how the Drug Enforcement Agency decides to shape the future of cannabidiol, but it introduces a potentially volatile atmosphere for most of the small farmers, CBD industry workers and “grass-roots” startups to make their entrance into, given how policy is shaping the slow growth of legality of cannabidiol products on a federal level.