The DEA struck again, this time moving to make CBD oil, a life-saving medicinal substance derived from the cannabis plant, a Schedule I narcotic — an act so defying logic and against the public interest, it all but proves the agency’s fealty to Big Pharma.
Schedule I “drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” the DEA claims — and the fact cannabis and, now, CBD (cannabidiol) oil are listed there, alongside heroin and cocaine, disputes the government’s own studies — no less than 40 of them.
Cannabis and cannabinoid derivatives have been proven — by government researchers — to treat everything from prostate and lung cancers, to breast, blood, and even brain cancer. Other studies have proven the substances can treat Crohn’s disease, childhood epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and much more.
CBD oil, in particular, has saved or miraculously improved the lives of even very young children who previously endured tens, or even hundreds, of crippling seizures every week due to epilepsy — in fact three, separate studies in a span of just five months proved this.
Anecdotal evidence further shows the benefits of CBD oil — one three year old who was diagnosed with severe autism and had been unable to vocalize after being treated for a rare form of cancer, gained the ability to speak after just two days of treatment with the substance.
Even house pets benefit from treatment with cannabidiol oil — dogs receive relief from seizures and pain with regular doses.
“This is a misguided and, frankly, ignorant move by the DEA,” Jeffrey Zucker, president and co-founder of Denver-based Green Lion Partners, told WestWord. “CBD does nothing but help people, and to put it on a level with heroin is absurd. Hopefully the backlash will be extreme enough for them to reconsider, as the only group this ruling helps is the pharmaceutical industry.”
Outrage has only intensified since the DEA’s December 14 filing to register CBD and cannabinoids as a substance of no medical worth — with attorneys, advocates, parents, patients, and even the media collectively calling the move, well, asinine — if not recklessly cruel.
Any businesses selling such products have until January 13 to properly register, in order for CBD oil and other cannabis-extract containing items to be tracked when the rule change is made official.
For its part, the DEA dismissed public ire as so much hysteria, calling the categorization of cannabis extract products a simple administrative switch that won’t have any bearing on sales.
However, that assertion fails to address how individual states — and their law enforcement agencies — will decide to interpret the move.
Calling the DEA’s action “very concerning,” Attorney Bob Hoban, head of the Hoban Law Group, explained, “What it purports to do is give the DEA control of all cannabinoids as a controlled substance.”
Hoban “said the danger lies in when other federal and state agencies use the drug codes as defining factors of what’s legal and illegal,” reports the Cannabist.
“At a minimum, it interferes with commerce,” Hoban noted. “At a maximum, it exposes people potentially to criminal action.
“It worries me because the definition of any marijuana-derived products, such as cannabinoids, are not unlawful substances, per se. It seems like they’re trying to extend their authority over all cannabinoids.”
Robert J. Capecchi, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, had far stronger feelings about the DEA’s move, telling Vice, “The whole policy around this plant is just so illogical. Even when you look at the criteria you’re supposed to be looking at under the law, they’re just not following it. It’s just a stupid policy for lack of a better term.”
“What the heck is the DEA doing?” asks journalist Ben Swann in a recent Reality Check explanatory video, calling the agency’s actions “completely wrong.”
Swann explains the cannabis plant has over 400 different ingredients, including cannabinoids, which “can be extracted as oil. CBD is a particular kind of cannabinoid oil, and unlike THC, the chemical that can give you a ‘high’ when it’s smoked, CBD is not psychoactive. That’s really important — it means it does not have the ability to get you high.”
He further notes the tens of thousands of children benefiting from cannabinoid oil can go from suffering hundreds of seizures each week to just two or three per day, with “one to two drops” of oil daily.
“CBD is saving lives,” Swann asserts plainly. “So is THC-A, the acidic form of THC — and THC oil.”
As the veteran propaganda-slaying journalist explains, “essentially, the DEA created a new category of drugs, specifically for cannabis, called ‘marijuana extracts.’
“In short, the DEA is clarifying that cannabis isn’t just illegal, but any naturally occurring oil, extracted from that natural plant, they say has no medical value and is highly addictive — and that is absolutely untrue. And to see how untrue, consider the fact that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent — on CBD and cannabinoids.”
U.S. Patent 6,630,507, in fact, “lists cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. HHS holds the patent on using CBD and other cannabinoids for the purpose of treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s, and even HIV.”
This proves, indisputably, the government knows the astonishingly varied and proven medical value of the cannabis plant and its derivatives — but the DEA doesn’t want you to have access to them — something Swann rightly calls “beyond ludicrous.”
However, in addition to outright absurdity, “the DEA doesn’t even have the authority to do this,” he continues. “In this case, the DEA is trying to create a new category of dangerous drug — simply because some bureaucrat has decided that the oil from this plant should be illegal to possess. And that is an authority the DEA doesn’t have.
“The agency is tasked with enforcing the law — not creating or expanding it.”