Written by Nadia Kounang and Debra Goldschmidt for CNN.
Marijuana will remain a Schedule l controlled substance, which declares it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” the Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday. This keeps the drug in the same category as heroin, LSD and Ecstasy.
The announcement is in response to two recent petitions asking the agency to reconsider this designation for the benefit of scientific research. The decision is based on a “scientific and medical evaluation” conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration at the request of the DEA.“The DEA and the FDA continue to believe that scientifically valid and well-controlled clinical trials conducted under investigational new drug (IND) applications are the most appropriate way to conduct research on the medicinal uses of marijuana,” said a statement from the DEA.Critics of the DEA have pointed out that marijuana researchers are caught in a Catch-22. In order to have more research, scientists need to do more studies. But in order to do that, their studies must be approved by federal agencies, including the DEA, the FDA and ultimately the National Institute on Drug Abuse.