DEA Reschedules Epidiolex, a Marijuana-Derived Drug

DEA Reschedules Epidiolex, a Marijuana-Derived Drug

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced that Epidiolex (cannabidiol) oral solution, a drug derived from marijuana, will be rescheduled from a schedule I drug to a schedule V drug. 

After an initial FDA approval in June, the future of Epidiolex– a drug indicated to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome – was uncertain as the drug contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD). Due to DEA regulations surrounding marijuana, the drug was automatically a schedule I drug because it contained marijuana, limiting doctors’ abilities to prescribe the drug.

However, the DEA has placed Epidiolex into schedule V, the lowest drug schedule which is reserved for drugs that have proven medical use and low abuse potential. Epidiolex does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound that causes the euphoria associated with marijuana. While other cannabis-derived medications are still automatically classified as schedule I, this decision on the part of the DEA could indicated that more marijuana-based medications could see wider use in the future if they are proven to be clinically beneficial.