CURE Responds to DEA’s Decision on Marijuana Scheduling

Chicago, IL – This month the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced their decision to maintain marijuana as a Schedule I drug, despite petitions from Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and many other research and patient-focused organizations concerned with the federal barriers prohibiting researchers from fully understanding the potential of medical cannabis. Despite this setback, CURE is pleased with the DEA’s decision to expand the number of DEA-registered marijuana manufacturers for research, of which there is currently only one, so more researchers will be able to conduct much-needed research on cannabidiol (CBD) – the major non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, as well as the many other cannabinoids found in marijuana.

An estimated 3 million Americans currently live with epilepsy and for two-thirds of them, the cause is unknown, making treatment difficult if not impossible to pinpoint. The positive results that some people with epilepsy have been seeing from CBD-rich marijuana extracts are giving so many parents what they have been lacking for so long – hope. CBD may not be the answer for all of these families, but when available medications and surgeries do not stop the uncontrollable seizures, every avenue must be explored.

As the leading nongovernmental agency fully committed to funding research in epilepsy, we believe researchers should be encouraged and supported to test not only pure CBD, but also high CBD/low-THC cannabis, pure-THC and other types of medical marijuana to determine the efficacy of these and other combinations on seizure control and the genesis of epilepsy. We are hoping for more changes to marijuana access that makes it easier for researchers to continue their vital work.

The Fight to Improve Research Access to Cannabis Continues

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Due to its incredible medicinal potential, we continue to believe that more research must be done on marijuana rich in cannabidiol (CBD). In late April, CURE signed a group letter addressed to Chuck Rosenberg, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), urging him to remove cannabis from Schedule I in the Controlled Substances Act.

This would eradicate federal barriers to research, paving the way for more progressive research and new treatments. CURE has joined with other organizations in support of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS, S. 683, H.R. 1538) which would facilitate safe and legal access to medical cannabis for patients and physicians acting in accordance with state law and lift federal barriers to research. The CARERS Act would also remove low-THC cannabis from the CSA allowing individuals in states that have created protections for low-THC therapies to more easily access this potential treatment option.

Current regulatory hurdles make it difficult for researchers to gain access to marijuana rich in CBD. There is no debate that the hoops through which researchers must jump to acquire marijuana, or any chemical found in it, are hindering scientific advancement—and CURE is committed to helping researchers overcome these obstacles to advance research in this important area.