The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced that marijuana would still fall under the Schedule l controlled substance category. The DEA declared the substance currently has no recognized medical use and pot remains to be a substance with increased potential for abuse. Within this guideline, the substance fall on the same levels as Ecstasy, heroin, and LSD.
This announcement comes after two petitions were launched, asking the DEA to re-think the marijuana category level for scientific research. DEA’s conclusion on this came after a “medical and scientific” evaluation that was done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as per a DEA request.
As per a statement from the DEA, both organizations believe that well-controlled and scientific clinical trials launched under investigational new drug (IND) platforms are the best way to move forward with medical marijuana research.
Still, there are those who believe that marijuana researchers are caught in a bit of trap. To have more information around medical marijuana, researchers need to conduct more studies; however, to get there, studies need to “the okay” by federal agencies, which also include the FDA and DEA, as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This also happens to be an organization that is the biggest public funder when it comes to the research of marijuana.
NIDA is in agreement with the University of Mississippi right now, which currently has the sole rights to grow marijuana for research purposes in the entire nation; and they’ve held this honor since 1968. Any study across the United States that was to research pot, need to get the substance from there, with a mission to prove its potential of abuse and harm, versus effectiveness.
While the substance may be wrapped in political red tape, the DEA also stated that it would allow for more entities to apply for registry with the organization so that they would be eligible to distribute and grow pot for FDA-approved studies. The DEA will oversee these newbie growers.
A psychiatrist who was once with the University of Arizona, but was apparently let go due to her marijuana research, chimed in on the DEA’s recent announcements. She notes that this is a big win for scientists who have wanted to conduct quality studies on drugs. She thinks that this could be a sign for marijuana research that could lead the substance on to the market within the next ten years.
CNN reported that the DEA has made it clear that it has never created a roadblock for FDA-authorized research using cannabis from the NIDA-authorized supply. As per the organization, in June of this year there were over 480 researchers registered with them to launch FDA-authorized studies with not only pot, but other Schedule I controlled substances.
The DEA also stated it continues its commitment to work along with NIDA and the FDA to look at ways to reform marijuana research and its extracts.
In the spring, Sisley’s proposal to conduct research around marijuana’s efficacy to aid veterans with PTSD was approved. This is the first of its kind in the United States.