The decision concerned a recently FDA-approved pharmaceutical version of CBD, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals. Due to the federal government's continued prohibition of cannabis, Epidiolex was prohibited from going to market unless the DEA rescheduled CBD. That's what the agency did, leading some to believe that "since this FDA-approved medication is pure cannabidiol (CBD) that all CBD products fall into the same category," Forbes noted.
But that is not the case. The DEA decision applies only to "FDA-approved" drugs, meaning they have just granted GW Pharmaceuticals a monopoly on plant-derived CBD (hemp-derived CBD is no longer restricted). The DEA said as much in a statement to NBC affiliate WTHR:
"What this does not do is legalize or change the status of CBD oil products," DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne said. "As of right now, any other CBD product other than Epidiolex remains a Schedule I controlled substance, so it's still illegal under federal law."