The schedules of the Controlled Substances Act determine the level of government regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of drugs and substances subject to its control. Drugs are placed in one of five schedules according to a scientific evaluation of the risks involved with use of the drug. Schedule I drugs are subject to a near absolute prohibition. Schedule V drugs are regulated, but are sold as over the counter products. According to the U.S. Code, the following factors establish the relevance of scientific knowledge about any drug or substance to its legal status or scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act.
In making any finding under subsection (a) of this section or under subsection (b) of section 812 of this title, the Attorney General shall consider the following factors with respect to each drug or other substance proposed to be controlled or removed from the schedules:
(1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
(2) Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
(3) The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
(4) Its history and current pattern of abuse.
(5) The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
(6) What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
(7) Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
(8) Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter. 21 USC 811 (c)