The Drug Enforcement Administration clarified that marijuana extracts – including cannabidiol (CBD) – fall under Schedule I drug classification, making all forms of the plant illegal under federal law, according to a notice released today.
In the announcement, "Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract," the DEA revealed a new identification number for marijuana extract, which is defined as: "an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant."
The new distinction will help the Administration better track scientific studies on marijuana separately from CBD and other extracts. By making this distinction, they also hope to comply with international drug control treaties.
"Once again, the federal government has shown that it has not caught up with modern science," Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, told Westword. "It's common knowledge that CBD has numerous medical uses, including curbing the effects of epilepsy and reducing muscle inflammation from injuries. To deny that shows a complete disregard for the facts."
CBD, which occurs naturally in marijuana, has also been cited as a promising treatment for patients with chronic pain and cancer, among other ailments. Unlike THC, CBD is not responsible for getting users high. However, CBD is now considered a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin and LSD, because there is no proven medical use for CBD and it has a high potential for abuse, according to the DEA.
"It's an internal accounting mechanism for us," DEA spokesman Russell Baer told VICE News. "The purpose is to drill down and get more accurate information about research that's being conducted with CBD in particular."