Controlled Substances Act: Everything that you need to know about

Controlled Substances Act: Everything that you need to know about

During the 20th century, the United States made numerous laws that aim to put the control of certain drugs into their hands. The Federal Congress of the United States noticed the extensive usage of drugs and were alarmed by it, thus taking steps to regulate drug use. This attempt eventually resulted in the emergence of more than 200 different laws which were all connected to drug prohibitions. President Richard Nixon became alarmed of this many emerging anti-drug laws and drafted the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The Controlled Substances Act became the big tent for all the regulations regarding drug prohibitions. It served as the law that combines all the other laws and provided supremacy to the growing problem of drug abuse. Not only that drug abuse was put under the Controlled Substances Act, but also the importation, manufacturing, and distribution.

What is the Controlled Substances Act?

The increasing drug use in the 1960s made way for the many and long laws that aim to regulate the usage of drugs. Ever since the 1900s, the Congress of the United States has been controlling and regulating the manufacturing and importation of drugs. The first criminal penalty amended for the unauthorized use of drugs was the Narcotics Act of 1915. 

The word controlled substance is defined as a medication or drug that is placed under the regulation of the government, including its possession, manufacturing, and selling. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is the common name of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970. It is a law that combined all the existing anti-drug laws in the 20th century. CSA was drafted to make logical and consistent penalties for criminal violations.

A lot of people applauded the U.S. Government’s approach to the growing drug problem. However, the people who are in favor of more strict criminal punishment were not satisfied. One of these was President Lyndon Johnson, who asked Congress to draft more stringent laws and create more powerful organizations to enforce them. Also, since the United States Federal Congress has long recognized the problem regarding the manufacturing and distribution of drugs, they considered Johnson’s suggestion of drafting tougher laws.

Like the United States, South Carolina also had their own fight about abuse in drug use. Their steps for drug control involve annual registration from the Bureau of Drug Control. Pharmacists who prescribe drugs that are regulated under the law have to undergo S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. 

Cannabis is known to have a lot of controversies. This drug, too, was placed under the regulation of the Controlled Substances Act. One of the most prominent difficulties of marijuana in connected to CSA is that it is very difficult, almost impossible to test the two different cannabis leaves and get the same chemical makeup. To get a solution for this difficulty, the federal Congress have introduced bills that would reschedule cannabis to CSA. One of the most recent bills is the House Resolution 2020, which would consider cannabis as a drug with low potential for abuse, has a currently accepted medical use, and have the moderate possibility of dependence when abused. Possession and use of cannabis without prescription is considered illegal under this House Resolution 2020. Putting cannabis under H.R 2020 would help in restricting its use, if not entirely outlaw it. House Resolution 2020 was introduced last April 2017 by Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican. It is known that the public has sentimental support over the medical use of marijuana, so legalizing its regulated use may be possible. 

The Controlled Substances Act added controversy to marijuana use as a medical alternative. Despite the fact that marijuana can treat various diseases, it is still considered as a drug with no therapeutic potential. The controversy lies within the Controlled Substances Act and marijuana because the law recognized marijuana as a drug with no proven medical use and high potential to abuse and dependency. 

In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. During the declaration, he said that the United State’s public enemy number one was drug abuse. Nixon fought drug addiction in both the temperance and medical view. The war on drugs affected not only the people who use drugs for recreation but also those who take drugs as a medical alternative. Ever since the declaration of war on drugs, the federal government funded and launched an enormous number of experimental laws that prohibit drug use. Unfortunately, all these laws were destined to fail. 

The controlled substances act, however, managed to act as a big tent and put all the laws that were passed regarding the drug use into one law. In the act, the United States Federal Government managed to create five classifications of drugs and established policies by which drugs can be manufactured, distributed, and imported. Over the past more than four decades, the act has been amended multiple times. The Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978, for instance, helped define how some psychotropic drugs should be regulated by creating five schedules.

Controlled Substances Act Schedules

Controlled Substances Act (CSA) schedules are part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. These schedules are the cornerstones of the United State’s war against drugs. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration divided drugs into five categories. These categories are classified based on their potential for abuse, safety, addictive potential, and whether it has or no legitimate medical potential and use.

Schedule I

The schedule I of the amendment was defined as drugs with no proven medical purposes. Also, these are the drugs that have a high potential for abuse. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), these drugs were characterized as substances with high potential to abuse; drugs or substances with no currently accepted medical treatment in the United States; and substances that lack safety for use under medical supervision. According to the schedule I, no prescriptions must be written for the drugs under the amendment. These drugs were heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LAD), cannabis, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote. 

In addition, marijuana is placed under the schedule I drugs up to these days. Despite the studies that prove marijuana’s life-changing healing effects, it is still considered as a drug that causes a high potential for addiction. This drug is proven to cure various illnesses such as anxiety, vomiting, nausea, and reduces the effect of depression. However, marijuana’s Schedule I designation prohibits physicians from prescribing them. People who use marijuana as a medical alternative can only use the drug under rigorous legal access. 

You cannot really test two cannabis leaves and get the same chemical makeup, thus listing it under the schedule I drug is sometimes questionable. Many cannabis-infused products are sold in medical dispensaries and the internet. However, none of these are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Understanding the connection between federal laws and marijuana can be a bit challenging because of its complexity. This resulted in a wide range of confusion regarding the legal status of cannabis. 

Schedule II

The Federal Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule II drugs are those that have a high potential for abuse. These drugs have accepted medical use in the United States, however, are under severe restrictions. Abuse of these drugs may cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Although the drugs under schedule II were proven to have medical efficacy, they are still considered to be dangerous. Some examples of schedule II drugs are cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. These chemicals are those that have 15 milligrams of hydrocodone dosage per unit.

Schedule III

Drugs or substances under schedule III has less potential for drug abuse compared to schedules I and II. Up until now, the drugs under this schedule is widely used for medical purposes in the United States. Abuse to these chemicals may only lead to moderate or low physical and psychological dependence. These products are those that contain 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit like ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone. 

Schedule IV

Unlike schedules I and II, drugs that are listed under schedule IV have only low potential for abuse. These drugs are widely accepted in the United States because of its efficacy in treating various diseases and have only limited physical and psychological dependence. Some of the drugs under schedule IV are phentermine, alprazolam, tryptophan, tramadol. 

Schedule V

Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for drug abuse than schedule IV drugs. They consist of preparations containing quantities of some narcotics. Schedule IV drugs are more commonly used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic. Some examples of schedule V drugs are cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters. 

Because drugs that are for medical use are already regulated, it is vital to educate yourself regarding drug use as an alternative for medicine. Pure CBD oil, for instance, came from cannabis and are proven to cure and alleviate some symptoms. Additionally, there are also CBD oils that are formulated specifically for anxiety, diabetes, and even insomnia. Before using such a drug, it is crucial to educate yourself regarding its use and effects.




Dwight K. Blake Written by: Dwight K. Blake

Dwight was a Mental Health counselor at Long Island Psychotherapy & Counseling in Westbury, New York for more than 15 years. He believes that CBD is the prime solution to this mental illness and more-- with proper research, medical acknowledgment, and application.
Through his work at AmericanMarijuana, together with the rest of the team, he wishes to provide everyone with genuine results and high-quality product reviews for everyone to enjoy for free.

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