FDA Continues to Improve Stance on Cannabis

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The world of cannabis has grown substantially over the course of the past several years. With new legislation going into place on a daily basis, it seems as though the industry is growing with the ferocity that will continue to lead it into the future of markets in this country and beyond. In recent news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has denied a new request by an anti-cannabis group that would continue the substances unfair scheduling on the U.S. list of restricted substances.

Cannabis has for some time now been listed on the scheduling as a Schedule I narcotic which means by federal standpoints, the drug has no potential use for medicinal purposes as well as a high chance of addiction. Both of these claims have been refuted many times across popular science and medicinal journals, but the FDA has chosen to not change its scheduling of the substance. Things do seem to be changing however as many new regulations go into place, and the FDA has seemed to have a more positive outlook on how it views cannabis.

The move to deny this new request as stated by Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, who stated that it is “not necessary for the protection of public health.” The organization filed its request to continue the crackdown on cannabis that has not been favored by most of the public as well as many individuals in the government, yet the group has continued to fight. The group stated that the move would “send an industry-wide warning to the estimated 33,000 marijuana businesses in the U.S., many of which are making unsupported medical claims for marijuana and THC drug products sold as ‘medical marijuana.’” The organization began to plead with the FDA to take some sort of action that would effectively “reduce or end the ability of over-the-counter sellers of these drugs to assert and advertise unsupported medical claims for their products. The group stated that “It would immediately make such claims unlawful and subject the sponsors to regulatory action, including injunctive seizure of mislabeled and misbranded drugs, as well as other potential sanctions permitted under the [Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act].”

The FDA refuted this by stating that it “appreciates the safety and public health concerns that motivate” the request, the agency “already has adequate authority to remove unapproved new OTC drugs containing marijuana or THC from the market.” They continued to state that “In order for FDA to take enforcement action against the illegal marketing of unapproved new OTC drugs containing marijuana or THC, it is not necessary for FDA to establish a negative monograph for marijuana or THC.” The FDA has been working to develop new methods to not only testing the cannabis plant but how it is used and governed throughout the U.S. Although this decision is very much a positive statement regarding the world of cannabis, the reality is that cannabis is still scheduled by the governing body with this Schedule I status. In order for the advancement of medical research to move onward, the scheduling of cannabis needs to be changed to reflect the reality of the substance as well as what the public would like to see. The hopes are high that given the cannabis industry is so new to the U.S., this type of legislation will soon go into place to reflect the true nature of how beneficial cannabis can be to those who need or want to use it. Only time will tell what occurs in the continuance of this sector.

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