When CBD was “rediscovered in the United States,” as described above, the “CBD-rich varieties that were available for extraction were “drug-type varieties,” rather than classic hemp varieties. Schedule I substances do not currently have accepted medical use in the United States and have a high potential for abuse. The Mary Lou Eimer Criteria were instrumental in the issuance of the Cole Memorandum, which has established federal guidelines on states with medical marijuana laws and has urged the federal government to reprogram marijuana to a Class IV or Class V controlled substance based on the results of the Quiggle Study. Unless specifically and strictly derived from a marijuana plant, CBD is not now, nor has it ever been, a controlled substance.
This concern for quality control has been confirmed by a study of CBD products sold in dispensaries (Bonn-Miller et al. Schedule I is the most restrictive, indicating that this controlled substance has no medicinal value and has a high potential for abuse. But what if CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids are derived from a legal source, such as the other 25 plant species that contain levels of cannabinoids or industrial hemp? Media reports on cannabis often include the assertion that, since it is a Schedule I substance, cannabis (and its derivatives) cannot be investigated in the United States, let alone successfully progress through the rigors of the FDA approval process. In 1992, DEA Administrator Robert Bonner enacted five criteria, based on the legislative history of the Controlled Substances Act, to determine if a drug has an accepted medical use.
As a general rule, all substances, and products containing or derived from them, are classified in the same list. In 1977, the Court issued a decision clarifying that the Controlled Substances Act requires full scientific and medical evaluation and compliance with the reprogramming process before treaty commitments (NORML) against opium and virtually all opioids, coca leaves and cocaine, amphetamines, and a number of other substances are in Schedule II. A study published in the March 1, 1990 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stated that there are virtually no reports of fatal cannabis overdose in humans and attributed this safety to the low density of cannabinoid receptors in areas of the brain that control breathing and heart.