Cannabinoid-based science this month marked a significant milestone in the legal cannabis industry’s debate against federal prohibition of marijuana, as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made it easier for medical patients to access the only federally approved drug derived from cannabis.

On April 6, the DEA informed London-based drug manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals that effective immediately Epidiolex, its flagship CBD-based drug, would no longer be classified as a Schedule 5 drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Differences Between Controlled and Noncontrolled Substances

Under U.S. federal law, controlled substances are generally understood as drugs with a high potential for abuse or addiction, such as Vicodin or Xanax. Only physicians who are registered with the DEA can prescribe controlled substances, and they are often tasked with stringent reporting standards to prevent overprescribing.

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