Confused you will be, THC is Schedule I, III and Not

According to Sigma-Aldrich, THC and other Cannabinoids are not only in Schedule I, III but also unscheduled as well.

pubchemlogo_2015I know I was and still am a little confused.  It all started with a search of the federal government Medications database for Cannabinoid.  PubChem lead me to what I already expected to see Marinol/drobininol the synthetic THC that is prescribed to cancer patients.

hgDPF-j4_400x400I also found that a number of other cannabinoids were already in the database.  Cannabinol, and a variety of analog cannabinoids.  Many of them being manufactured by Sigma-Aldrich.  Sigma became a subject of search to see what they offered and what they offered amazed me to say the least.

The ease of use of their website is amazing and the information very revealing.  The most revealing is that you can purchase THC, and other cannabinoids without any license from the DEA.  According to the company because they are “in a solution of methanol and at a concentration of 1mg/ml they are exempted from DEA license.”  Yet other THC and Cannabinoids that are in Ethanol are on Schedule I according to them.  According to information from the DEA THC that is in Sesame Seed Oil is a schedule III substance.  How can THC be in 2 schedules and also not in any schedules?

This seems rather bizarre because of the concentration is 1mg/ml they are exempt from the CSA.  As a former Navy Medic and father of a RN soon to become a NP, this didn’t seem correct.  In medicine a dose is prescribed, not a concentration.

The concentration of the dose is only relevant to the dose prescribed.  If 1mg of something would be prescribed.  Manufacturers might not make a 1mg size instead making a 0.5mg or 2mg dose in which case the amount of the medication might be adjusted.  If the amount in a tablespoon is 0.5mg and the prescribed amount is 1mg a person simply takes two tablespoons to get the prescribed dose.  The concentration of the medication is only relative to the amount of medication in the form prescribed and the prescribed dosage.

DEASo why does it matter what the concentration of a cannabinoid is that can take it from being a Schedule I substance to a unscheduled substance?  This is the conundrum of DEA logic when it comes to Cannabis and Cannabinoids.  They seem to be hung up on concentrations of a substance within another substance which is irrelevant to the heart of the CSA.

The heart of the CSA is to Control Substances, and Prevent Diversion.  A substance is either on the schedule or it isn’t, at least any other substance is.  Codeine, Cocaine, Opiate derivatives are on the CSA in all concentrations, there is no magic concentration that suddenly it’s controlled.  Every other substance on the CSA is controlled in it’s entirety, regardless of “concentration” but not Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

hempSo what’s going on?  Part of it is a case against the DEA brought by HIA which forced DEA to exempt certain products made from Cannabis that might contain small percentages of cannabinoids of various types in very low amounts.  Another is the passage of the Farm bill which allowed for the production of Cannabis for commercial products.  The thought being that low Cannabinoid varieties could be grown by farmers.

The flaw is that concentrations of one Cannabinoid vs others is relative to the other cannabinoids.  Conversations with the Bast Fiber Institute in the Ukraine and The University of Minnesota is that cannabinoid levels are related to each other.  As THC goes down other cannabinoid levels rise.  So you can have low THC producing cannabis but it will produce a greater amount of other Cannabinoids.  This leads to the inevitable circle of you can’t grow a plant with one concentration of any cannabinoid being above a certain level.  Something that simply can’t be attained.

Back to the main subject that some “concentrations” of Cannabinoids are legal.  What could be done with them?  First they are in methanol, not a safe substance to ingest so I wouldn’t suggest you order up a bunch.  Also as soon as you change the concentration they become a controlled substance again.  They are research chemicals and not prescribable by physicians.  Yet there they are, out there for sale, legally without any controls by the DEA.  It simply doesn’t make any sense but when it comes to Cannabis it never does seem to make any sense.