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Cannabis Scheduling: The FDA Wants to Hear From You

April 11, 2018
fda-cannabis-reschedulingYou have until April 23 to submit comments about cannabis scheduling to the FDA. Go do it already! (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Update: Today, April 23, is the last day to submit comments to the FDA.


Between now and April 23, the US Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comment from “interested parties” regarding the classification of cannabis. In case you need a quick refresher, cannabis is currently a Schedule I controlled substance—a category reserved for drugs with high abuse potential and no accepted medical use—meaning it’s more tightly regulated than opium or cocaine.

Why now? With the World Health Organization due to review its own international classification of cannabis (including THC, CBD, and other related compounds), the UN agency has asked for input from member nations. Historically, none has been more influential than the United States.

Related

United Nations Report Scolds Countries for Cannabis Legalization

As it prepares the US response, the FDA wants to hear from you. Go! Comment! The online form is right here.

What Should I Say?

The FDA is a medical body and isn’t, in theory, a political beast. It cares more about your health and behavioral experiences with cannabis than what you think about Henry Ford’s hemp car. Officially, the agency is seeking “comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use.”

Are you a medical patient who’s experienced health benefits associated with cannabis? Someone recovering from addiction who has successfully used cannabis as an exit drug? An adult-use consumer who used to buy pot on the illicit market but now buys laboratory-tested cannabis at a state-regulated retailer? A doctor who has firsthand experience treating patients with cannabis? Heck, maybe you’re the New Jersey judge who last year called the benefits of medical cannabis “abundant and glaringly apparent.”

No matter who you are, stick to comments that are truthful and sincere. Share your experiences and, where possible, back up your claims with scientific evidence.

regulations.gov cannabis rescheduling

Click the “Comment Now!” button on the issue’s Regulation.gov page to submit comments. (Regulations.gov)

What About Descheduling?

Ten years ago, medical marijuana advocates and others were primarily talking about rescheduling cannabis to a lower level under the Controlled Substances Act, as that path seemed more realistic. Today, mere rescheduling is widely seen as insufficient. A better approach, many argue, could be descheduling cannabis—removing it from the CSA completely and regulating it through different means. Not only would that put cannabis on par with alcohol and tobacco, it’s also more likely to ensure that whole-plant preparations remain available to medical patients.

Related

Cannabis’s Entourage Effect: Why Whole Plant Medicine Matters

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Ben Adlin

Ben Adlin is a senior editor at Leafly who specializes in politics and the law. Follow him on Twitter: @badlin

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  • Paul

    I am 48 years old. I have been a diabetic for 38 years. I was on heavy amounts of opiates for over 10 years ( all doctor prescribed ). I hated being addicted to these horrible drugs. So 5 years ago I quit cold turkey with the help of cannabis. Now medical marijuana has saved me both mentally and physically. Nothing helps my neurapathy better and eliminates my anxiety completely like a good dominate sativa hybrid blend. There is no addiction problems and it is not a gateway drug. If alcohol can be purchased by any 21 year old at Walmart, Publix, 7 Eleven etc. than why is a harmless helpful plant even controlled. I have watched alcohol destroy so many people. It is addictive and kills so many people by addiction, violence, car accidents where many innocent die etc. Marijuana should not be a classified drug just a classy weed. Come on in the states where its legal it has helped the economy lowered opiate deaths, helped children with seizures and not one death from it. It seems obvious but as long as money remains more important than our citizens comfort and lives we the people lose. Keep the peace but be heard.

  • Adrian

    My only annoyance with this is the character limit. I have a lot of reasons and 5000 characters wasn’t enough XD. I personally urge anyone who finds out about this to say something. Personal experience, friends experience, unique knowledge you might have. Anything. Even if they didn’t read a single one of the comments, flooding it would send just as much of a message. But if they do read them, this is our chance to educate a important group on something, that frankly, most people are under educated for, let alone the important ones making the decision.

  • Jane Henry Mardison

    What about the US Government owning the patent for CBD and listing all the health problems it is supposed to help with? The FDA has approved Marinol years ago for cancer patients, why would they approve it if marijuana had no health benefits? We have used marijuana drops for a few years now and have decreased our prescription drugs more than half. Canada and Israel have been doing research on it for years and the results of their studies make a mockery of our government saying that it has no medical benefit. As soon as they learn how much money can be made from it it will be declared a miracle drug.

    • Grow Your Own

      Only the Big Pharma companies will be Crying over Lost Profits when the US Govt collects the Billions in Taxes.

  • Grow Your Own

    Descheduling sounds like the Best to Way to put Cannabis on par with Alcohol and Tobacco(that’s where Cannabis should be “Not Level 3” w/Meth & Heroin), “it’s also more likely to ensure that whole-plant preparations remain available to medical patients”.

  • gnigma

    62 year old male, Registered Nurse for 23 years. I have watched countless patients of all ages turn into addicts with opioids— grandmothers, athletes, and children. Marijuana use is so low on the scale of concerns that it is negligible. Some of the smarter hospitals have taken it off their toxicology screen. It is NOT medically significant, and has so few interactions with other drugs that it can be ignored. The US has spent billions over the years, trying to demonize this herb and its users, all to no avail. Deschedule it, already!

  • We have been fed decades of propaganda! Cannabis will give so many people that relief they need and deserve!