Is “Marijuana” A Controlled Substance? The Facts and the Law

The United States is currently in the middle of a debate over marijuana. Is it a controlled substance? What effect does legalization have on society?
How will legalizing cannabis, or marijuana, affect crime and health? In this article, we’ll give you some facts about cannabis and explain why it’s not a controlled substance.

Is Cannabis A Controlled Substance?

This question might be more commonly asked, “Is cannabis a controlled substance?” Many people don’t realize cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, alongside heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. The US Drug Enforcement Agency defines Schedule 1 controlled substances as those that the DEA believes to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
The Schedule 1 classification is supposed to help law enforcement deal with these substances by making it easier for authorities to fight drug trafficking. But the DEA’s classification is based on the finding that cannabis has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Cannabis is considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs, with potential for abuse comparable to cocaine and heroin.

The Effects of Cannabis

To many people, it seems as if pot is not only harmless, but an incredible pain reliever, the truth is that most research on cannabis’s effects is decades old and comes with conflicting conclusions. As I learned during a recent debate on the issue with an ex-cannabis user, the benefits of cannabis have been overstated.
But before I tell you why cannabis is a controlled substance, I need to give you a little background. There is no doubt that cannabis is a controlled substance in many parts of the world. For instance, cannabis is illegal in China, Israel, Japan, and some European countries, however, cannabis is legal in most of the United States and Canada.

Is Cannabis a Controlled Substance?

There are several different federal classification levels of controlled substances, as of the date of this article’s publication, cannabis is not a controlled substance, but many people believe it should be. It’s well known that the federal government classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug.
The classification is what’s in the government’s bag of tricks. It means cannabis is classified as having no “currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”. The most significant thing about Schedule I is that you are not allowed to possess it without a permit. If you are caught with it, you can be prosecuted. The other label that cannabis is not in the government’s bag of tricks is Schedule II.

The Effects of Cannabis

Cannabis has many effects. Here are some of the most important: Medical The most widely recognized effects of cannabis on health are its ability to reduce or eliminate seizures, there is strong scientific evidence that cannabis can help treat various medical conditions, including cancer, anxiety, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and glaucoma.
Many states have passed laws that permit the use of cannabis for medical purpose, these laws are either on the books or have been passed to regulate the medical cannabis industry. Currently, medical cannabis is legal in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
Some states allow for the legal use of medical cannabis for conditions other than epilepsy, cannabis may help to reduce the pain associated with multiple sclerosis.

Is Cannabis Addictive?

No. You can use cannabis daily for many years without becoming addicted. The THC in cannabis does not permanently change the brain and alter the personality, cannabis is also classified as a Schedule II drug – that means it’s not currently illegal in the United States.
Is cannabis hazardous to your health? No. Cannabis is not associated with many adverse health effects such as cancer, birth defects, or sudden death.

Does Legalization Reduce Crime?

Legalization has not, by and large, resulted in a decrease in cannabis use. In fact, in some states, like Washington, Colorado, and Alaska, cannabis use is on the rise, and even declining.
Colorado saw an 11% decrease in cannabis use in 2013, and no statistical significance was found for a 7% decrease in 2014, this study found that possession rates for cannabis are nearly the same in states that have legalized cannabis and in states that have not.
This doesn’t necessarily indicate that legalization increases the rate of cannabis use, it could mean that increased availability of marijuana has attracted certain people to marijuana who were not users before.
Does legalization raise harm? The evidence is, as of now, inconclusive.


Every state is currently experimenting with various cannabis laws. There have also been some big questions over the standardization of cannabis, as well as the legal status of cannabis in different states.
In general, cannabis is still an illegal substance in the United States, there’s a reason for this–cannabis is still illegal on a federal level. Because of this, you will have a hard time going to jail for cannabis in the United States, however, there are many other issues to consider.
Legalization could have a major impact on the amount of money generated by the cannabis industry, it could also potentially reduce the number of drug dealers in the country.