It’s no secret that the Drug Enforcement Agency flaked on its self-imposed deadline for whether or not it will reschedule marijuana earlier this summer, but according to a recent article in Cannabis Wire, the DEA now says they are getting close to a decision.

Since 1970, the entire cannabis plant has been in Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it was deemed a substance that was likely to be abused and not accepted for medical use. However, the FDA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that the DEA reconsider marijuana’s medicinal value and potential for abuse. Yet, here we are. Still.

While the DEA may, in fact, be close to making a decision on rescheduling marijuana, Cannabis Wire says it has reason to believe things will be different this time around:

“…There are signs that this time things will be different, based on conversations Cannabis Wire has had with the DEA, the director of the federal cannabis research farm, and our analysis of discussions at the federal level.”

“But those signs point not toward the whole plant rescheduling, but rather toward one component of the cannabis plant that is more likely to be headed out of Schedule I: cannabidiol, or, CBD.”  

Since CBD doesn’t have the psychological effects of THC, the thought is people are more likely to consume CBD for medicinal purposes, not recreational.

This doesn’t mean the entire plant won’t be rescheduled, but Cannabis Wire points out that time and time again, federal officials point to the ‘crude and varied nature’ of whole plant cannabis when it comes to whether it can be considered a medicine.

“We’re fathers, we’re parents, we’re brothers, sisters. We get the emotional side of the argument. But at the end of the day, from our perspective, a lot of the states that have taken either legislative action or ballot initiatives and public referendums, they kind of short cutted the whole scientific process. And our system is set up to where the FDA has always been, and continues to be, the entity that determines the safety of all medicines, all substances. So we only ask that marijuana be held to the same level of scrutiny as all other substances and medicines,” the DEA’s Russell Baer told Cannabis Wire.

The fact that the DEA has a history of deliberately stalling and impeding cannabis research for years is beside the point, though, right?

As discussed in A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition, there is a reason why more than half of the United States has passed whole-plant medical cannabis laws. The caveat is in the 1999 Institute of Medicine’s “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base” report, and it reads:

“…It will likely be many years before a safe and effective cannabinoid delivery system, such as an inhaler, is available for patients. In the meantime there are patients with debilitating symptoms for whom smoked marijuana might provide relief.”

Check out the full article at Cannabis Wire, here.