Medical Marijuana Study in US Gets Small Boost

Medical Marijuana Study in US Gets Small Boost

A broader use of medical marijuana is hamstrung because there’s not enough science on whether it actually works.

A release from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration indicates that some of the federal government’s resistance might be softening—a little.

The DEA announced that it has eased some of the regulatory requirement imposed by the Controlled Substances Act 9CSA) for those who are conducting FDA approved clinical trials on cannabidol (CBD), an extract of the marijuana plant.

The DEA claims “These modifications will streamline the research process regarding CBD’s possible medicinal value and help foster ongoing scientific studies.”

While it is a relatively conservative easing of the rules, people who are promoting the use of medical marijuana saw it as a good sign.

“We are optimistic that this change indicates that federal barriers to medical marijuana research are declining, and there will be more doors opening for this research in the near future,” said Brad Burge. Director of Communications and Marketing for MAPS.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. It’s located in Santa Cruz, Ca.

Though the FDA approves drugs for medical use in the United States, the DEA regulates the handling of all controlled substances, including those being used by researchers to conduct studies.

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance because of the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient.  Because CBD contains less than 1 percent THC and has shown some potential medicinal value, there is great interest in studying it for medical applications.  Currently, CBD is a Schedule I controlled substance as defined under the CSA.

While research in the United States regarding the use of marijuana to treat chronic pain (and other medical conditions) is still embryonic, it’s much further along in Canada.

A Canadian research team led by Dr. Mark Ware from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montréal has completed a national study looking at the safety of medical cannabis use among patients suffering from chronic pain. They found that patients with chronic pain who used cannabis daily for one year, when carefully monitored, did not have an increase in serious adverse events compared to pain patients who did not use cannabis.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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