Stoners in the know made a special Christmas wish to Santa last week after it was rumored that the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration were joining forces to downgrade cannabis to a Schedule II controlled substance. The news telephoned its way around after a letter from Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ohio) suggesting the big push by the DEA ’n’ FDA ended up with Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. Angell went public with the news and the nation’s most hopeful cannabis enthusiasts thought this meant Kris Kringle or Baby New Year 2016 might bring a new federal status to cannabis.
But so far the rumour has only proved to be half (or maybe more like an eighth) true. No, marijuana hasn’t been rescheduled. No, there’s no evidence that’s even in the works. But something pretty groovy for patients, caregivers, and the medical community at large did drop down their figurative fireplaces shortly after this last Christmas: it’s now going to be a lot easier for research scientists to study the medicinal effects of CBD.
So, cannabis’s status as a controlled substance isn’t changing, but the Controlled Substances Act itself is changing, according to reporting from High Times. Researchers doing FDA-approved research on CBD will “modify their protocol and continue their research seamlessly,” whereas before they had to continually re-apply for more medical marijuana as they conducted their clinical trials.
It’s a small bit of progress, though some have chosen not to see it that way. High Times, in discussing the changing regulation wrote, “..one thing is certain, any coming reforms will likely only apply to the pharmaceutical market and not go deep enough to have any impact on medical marijuana, as we know it.” In other words, the move from the DEA and FDA is only good news for big wealthy pharmaceutical companies and the rest of the 99% are being ignored.
What High Times might fail to recognize is that marijuana legislation actually has aims beyond making cannabis easier to access. Though many health professionals are pretty sure that both CBD and THC have health benefits, there’s not all that much hard science on how it benefits health. Nor is their much material on dosage or treatment runs or side effects like there are on any other prescription drug in the country. Learning more about how CBD effects patients isn’t just good for pharmaceutical companies, it’s even better for patients. The reason we don’t know more already is because of tight restrictions on cannabis research. The same ones that are now being lifted (though only on CBD, not THC yet).
So throw up your hands and celebrate. It’s a good day for medical marijuana. And maybe if you’re a good little stoner all year long, Santa will bring you a more far-reaching bit of cannabis legislation next year.