Is the Trump administration softening its public stance on cannabis legalization? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for public input on whether or not cannabis should remain a Schedule I narcotic under international law.
Under both domestic law and international agreements, cannabis is labeled a Schedule I narcotic with no medicinal value. The classification means cannabis is just as dangerous and addictive as heroin and LSD. Because of cannabis’ classification, research on the plant is often difficult or impossible to conduct.
The United Nations (U.N.) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be reviewing the medical potential of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is encouraging “interested persons” to submit comments on the topic of rescheduling before American officials meet with members of the U.N.
The FDA wants the public’s feedback on “abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of cannabis,” according to Forbes.
The WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence will meet in June to discuss cannabis’ classification and will submit recommendations to U.N. officials. It is possible that the U.N. will decide to reschedule cannabis.
Many cannabis legal analysts have suggested that international law could be one of the biggest reasons that federal officials have been slow to embrace rescheduling despite overwhelming evidence highlighting the medicinal benefits of cannabis. If the U.N. reclassifies cannabis it could make it easier for the United States to follow suit.
Last year, WHO reviewed the properties of CBD, a cannabinoid associated with pain relief without producing any psychedelic effect. WHO recommended additional research but concluded cannabis “has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials” and “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
“There is no evidence of…any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” the committee wrote.
Cannabis has not been formally reviewed by the U.N. since being classified as a Schedule I narcotic in 1961.
Public comments will need to be submitted to the FDA by April 23.