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  • Christopher D.

Breaking: Marijuana Set to Be Reclassified as Less Dangerous - What Are the Implications?

In a historic move, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plans to reclassify marijuana from its current status as a Schedule I controlled substance to the less restrictive Schedule III category. This recognizes the evolving scientific consensus that marijuana poses a lower risk of abuse compared to drugs like heroin and ecstasy. 

While it doesn't legalize marijuana for recreational use, this rescheduling acknowledges its potential medical benefits and lower danger profile. The catalyzing event was a recent recommendation from U.S. health regulators to reschedule marijuana to better align policy with research.

The Scheduling System Explained

Under the Controlled Substances Act, drugs are classified into five schedules based on their medical utility and potential for abuse and dependency:

  • Schedule I (e.g. heroin, LSD) - No accepted medical use, high abuse potential

  • Schedule II (e.g. fentanyl, oxycodone) - Accepted medical use, high abuse potential  

  • Schedule III (e.g. ketamine, codeine products) - Accepted medical use, moderate abuse potential

  • Schedule IV (e.g. Xanax, Valium) - Accepted medical use, low abuse potential

  • Schedule V (e.g. low-dose codeine) - Accepted medical use, lowest abuse potential

By moving to Schedule III, marijuana would be recognized as having an accepted medical use and only a moderate potential for abuse.

So what would this mean for North Carolinians? Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal and considered a misdemeanor criminal offense in North Carolina. However, reclassification to Schedule III could pave the way for future medical marijuana legalization efforts in the state.

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

There is substantial evidence that marijuana can provide relief for a variety of medical conditions and symptoms, such as:

  • Chronic pain

  • Nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy

  • Muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis 

  • Appetite loss from HIV/AIDS

  • Seizure disorders

  • Glaucoma

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

For patients suffering from these debilitating conditions, medical marijuana can be a safer alternative to addictive pharmaceutical drugs, with fewer side effects. It allows patients to experience a better quality of life. The strong safety profile of marijuana compared to many prescription drugs also reduces risks of overdose or life-threatening respiratory depression.

While medical marijuana is not yet legal in North Carolina, this reclassification by the DEA could build momentum for a future medical program and legal access for qualified patients. Many states already have established medical marijuana programs that allow residents to obtain a medical marijuana card with a doctor's recommendation.

If North Carolina implements a similar program, residents with qualifying medical conditions would be able to purchase marijuana products from licensed dispensaries after receiving a medical marijuana card and doctor's approval. Legal medical marijuana also opens business opportunities for marijuana entrepreneurs and provides jobs/tax revenue for the state.

Overdue Reform to Antiquated Policy

Marijuana's current Schedule I status is increasingly out of step with both public opinion and scientific evidence on its relative safety. By reclassifying it to Schedule III, the DEA would be catching up to the reality that:

  • Marijuana has a lower potential for abuse than harder drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines.

  • It has established medical uses backed by research.

  • The majority of U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana to some degree.

This is an overdue reform to an outdated, draconian classification imposed during the thick of the War on Drugs mindset decades ago.

While full legalization remains an uphill battle at the federal level, reclassifying marijuana as Schedule III would better reflect the true nature of marijuana. It could also open doors for critical research still restricted under the current Schedule I status. For patients in North Carolina and nationwide suffering from serious medical conditions, the rescheduling offers hope of safer and more legal access to medical marijuana in the future.

Get Ready for Medical Marijuana

Although medical marijuana is still not legal in North Carolina, it may legalized soon! You should be sure you are prepared for the program to become operational as soon as possible. In order to do this, you will need to get your medical marijuana card.

Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our compassionate doctors just as soon as North Carolina’s medical marijuana market is fully operational.

You and your new doctor will meet virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. You’ll learn all about how medical marijuana may be able to help your conditions, without even leaving the comfort and safety of your own home. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7320, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

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