MJBiz - November/December 2023 - 66

Rx:Cannabis
acceptance from the health care establishment
Rescheduling could go a long way toward fostering
By Omar Sacirbey
M
oving marijuana from
Schedule 1 to 3 under the
Controlled Substances Act
could infl uence whether and how
doctors recommend medical cannabis.
It also could have important
ramifi cations for persuading insurance
companies to pay for marijuana
treatments for medical patients.
Currently, doctors do not prescribe
state-regulated medical cannabis
because they risk losing their
licenses for prescribing something
not approved by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration. That would not
change if the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration reschedules
marijuana-doctors would still be
barred from prescribing stateregulated
MMJ products.
Doctors could, however, continue
to recommend state-regulated, nonFDA-approved
marijuana products to
people seeking MMJ cards so they could
register as cannabis patients with
the state.
PRESCRIBING CHANGES
If the DEA moves cannabis to Schedule
3 from Schedule 1, doctors would
be allowed to prescribe FDA-approved
cannabis medicines. That's because
physicians currently are permitted to
prescribe Schedule 3 products only if
they have FDA approval, such as Tylenol
with codeine.
" Assuming that there are new, FDAapproved
cannabis drugs, a licensed
physician with proper DEA registration
to prescribe controlled substances
would be able to prescribe that drug.
In the state-legal (marijuana) system,
Cannabis-based epilepsy
drug Epidiolex is available
with a doctor's prescription.
Photo by stock.adobe.com/Aleksander
a physician is recommending, " said
attorney Eric Berlin, who heads the
U.S. and global cannabis practice at
international law fi rm Dentons.
Leah Sera, the co-director for the
University of Maryland's Graduate
Studies in Medical Cannabis program,
agreed.
" Physicians prescribe Schedule 3
substances, so (rescheduling) would
be a huge change, " Sera said. She
cautioned that " it's not likely to be
as broad as ... the things that are
currently in dispensaries. So even if
(rescheduling) occurs, drugs would
have to go through the FDA approval
process and be approved before they
could be prescribed and sold and
dispensed in pharmacies, like we think
about with regular prescription drugs. "
Rescheduling could induce
greater research and cannabis drug
development, but receiving FDA
approval takes years, so it would likely
66 November-December 2023 | MJBizMagazine
be a long time before any prescriptions
are written for new marijuana-related
products, said Justin Brandt, partner
with the Bianchi & Brandt law fi rm in
Scottsdale, Arizona.
The one cannabis plant-based drug
that doctors can prescribe is Epidiolex,
which the DEA removed from the
controlled substances list in 2020 and
is used to treat seizures in certain
patients.
Doctors would be allowed to write
prescriptions not just for Epidiolex
but also other cannabis products that
receive FDA approval, something
that would become more common
as companies research and develop
cannabis-based products, Brandt said.
ENCOURAGING
MARIJUANA KNOWLEDGE
While rescheduling would not permit
doctors to prescribe medical marijuana
sold at state-licensed dispensaries,

MJBiz - November/December 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBiz - November/December 2023

MJBiz - November/December 2023 - CT1
MJBiz - November/December 2023 - CT2
MJBiz - November/December 2023 - Cover1
MJBiz - November/December 2023 - Cover2
MJBiz - November/December 2023 - 3
MJBiz - November/December 2023 - 4
MJBiz - November/December 2023 - 5
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