The Drug Enforcement Administration has given up its influence over Epidiolex, the cannabis-based CBD epilepsy medication from UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals.
Epidiolex is currently the only FDA-approved CBD medication; it was approved in 2018 to treat cases of severe epilepsy and DEA had originally scheduled the drug as a Schedule V substance, the lowest restriction possible under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
“This notification from DEA fully establishes that EPIDIOLEX, the only CBD medicine approved by FDA, is no longer a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. We would like to thank DEA for confirming the non-controlled status of this medicine.” — Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, in a press release
The scheduling shift removes many of the barriers to access Epidiolex. Patients, for example, will still require a doctor’s prescription to access the drug but the prescription will now last up to a year and patients will be allowed to change pharmacies and still have access to their medication.
Early reports on the drug suggested that a year’s worth of the CBD-based medication would cost about $32,500.
While Epidiolex has been removed entirely from the CSA, the cannabis plant itself hypocritically remains a Schedule I substance, which designates an extremely dangerous substance with no accepted medical value.