An FDA evaluation of CBD drug Epidiolex that was recently made public shows that the FDA originally wanted to make Epidiolex completely unscheduled but DEA concerns lead to Schedule 5 instead, according to a Marijuana Moment report.
In May, the FDA wrote to the DEA that CBD has no significant potential for abuse and could be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. However, in the same letter, the FDA mentioned that previous DEA interim head Robert Patterson had informed the FDA that it was impossible to deschedule CBD due to the international 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty.
This caused the FDA to amend its recommendation to instead schedule it in the least restricted category, Schedule 5; the FDA, however, made clear that this was due solely to the DEA’s concerns.
“If treaty obligations do not require control of CBD, or if the international controls on CBD change in the future, this recommendation will need to be promptly revisited.” — excerpt from the FDA Review of Epidiolex
Canada’s upcoming federal legalization may throw into question the DEA’s concerns over international drug treaties, as Canada is also a signatory of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and yet has decided to fully legalize cannabis.
The U.N. World Health Organization has also recommended descheduling CBD internationally.