As part of this review, the DEA obtained from the FDA an unpublished lengthy report on the status of cannabis science as it relates to human health. This review emphasized the standards by which a new drug can gain approval.
In recommending that cannabis not be descheduled, the FDA identified multiple known health issues related to cannabis use, including prenatal exposure, behavioral effects, deleterious impact on those prone to psychoses, and negative impacts on a patient’s cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, and immune systems. In addition, given the inconsistent quality and limited amount of controlled cannabis research, and lack of NDAs or INDAs, the FDA concluded that the current evidence did not support the rescheduling of cannabis.
In essence, in its statement, the DEA adopted the FDA’s opinion, stating that while the use of cannabis for treating a variety of conditions has seen approval at the state level, the federal government has yet to see sufficient scientific clinical evidence of safety and efficacy to warrant the reclassification of cannabis. The DEA’s letter ends with the statement, “But we will remain tethered to science, as we must, and as the statute demands.”