Will it Get Easier to Conduct Research on Medical Cannabis? Recent Events Say “Yes”
A proposed bill just introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah would make it far more feasible to be able to conduct research on medical cannabis. Thus far, research on the matter has been few and far between; getting the funding, the “ok,” and, most importantly, the medical cannabis has been a challenge. The bill is dubbed the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 (MEDS) and would streamline the process for registering for research, thus making it more accessible, as well as make medical cannabis more available for medical and scientific research; not just cannabis, either, but FDA-approved medicines derived from cannabis too.
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Sen. Hatch made this (cannabis pun-laden) statement:
“It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana. Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”
The implications of the bill are far and wide reaching; thus far, it has been a struggle to conduct research on medical cannabis despite its obvious health benefits. Beyond that, countless studies show decreases in opioid use in states that have legalized medical cannabis—this being during a literal opioid epidemic. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, “Medical cannabis laws were associated with a mean 24.8% lower annual rate of opioid analgesic overdose deaths.” This is on par with other studies which have cited around 25% decreases in opioid-related deaths in states that have legalized medical cannabis.
Outside the benefits of the bill already mentioned, MEDS will also increase the national cannabis quota which has been extremely low in past years. In addition, the bill takes precaution so as to ensure good manufacturing practices as put in place by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The bill would also maintain important checks and balances as a way to strongly discourage any sort of abuse.
Sen. Hatch went on to speak on just why research has been so halted in the past: “We lack the science to support use of medical marijuana products like CBD oils not because researchers are unwilling to do the work, but because of bureaucratic red tape and overregulation.” Currently, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act—the most restrictive category, right up there with opioids like heroin. Finally, somebody is speaking up on how utterly ridiculous it is to lump cannabis—proven to have medical benefits—in with drugs that have high potential for abuse and show no medical use.
Though Sen. Hatch still strongly opposes the recreational use of cannabis, his action here speaks rather loudly—even those who have not historically supported cannabis reform are starting to realize just how beneficial this medicine really is. AGRiMED is here to ensure that as the U.S. begins to move forward with medical cannabis reform and legalization, we are providing top-level, safe products to everyone.
Bachhuber, Marcus A (2014). Medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in the United States 1999-2010. JAMA Internal Medicine. 174(10), 1668-1673