Legal cannabis is still new enough that we are continuing to see many “firsts.” These “firsts” have moved the industry along so quickly that legislation has struggled to keep up. This has been especially prevalent in science, though that is now starting to change. The first medical marijuana research bill has just been approved, which shows promise of being a game changer.
If passed into law, the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act would substantially increase studies on the plant. Universities, private firms, and pharmaceutical companies would be allowed to secure DEA licenses enabling them to grow and handle cannabis for research.
Scientists are strongly in favor of the legislation, as they feel the current cannabis supply available for research is low, as well as poor in quality and low in potency. Furthermore, since cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, access to any supply is that much more hampered by red tape.
In addition to clearing the way for more research, the legislation would provide further benefits. Doctors would be allowed to discuss the pros and cons of cannabis with their patients. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be allowed to research cannabis’s potential for healing, how the plant affects teenagers’s brain development, and driving ability.
The legislation, if passed, would also open adjacent research opportunities: Since there are so few FDA approved cannabis-based products currently on the market, there little unbiased information available about the pros and cons of cannabis, as well as little information as to how cannabis interacts with other medications. This includes dosing and method of delivery.
All signs indicate that President Biden will soon sign the bill, so we can start to look ahead as to the research that will become available in the coming years as to both the pros and cons of the plant.
Sources: MJBizDaily, DEA, Senate.gov