WASHINGTON — Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Senate Committee on International Drug Control, joined Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Brian Schatz in welcoming the passage of their legislation expanding the scientific and medical research on marijuana and its compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD). The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Thursday night.
“This bipartisan bill is critical to a better understanding of the marijuana plant and its potential benefits and dangers. It will enable the FDA to safely and responsibly analyze CBD and medical marijuana products so the American public can make informed decisions about whether to use them in the future based on solid scientific data. Research into marijuana has broad support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and it’s a smart step forward in tackling this drug,” Grassley said.
“Current rules and regulations make it difficult for researchers to study how best to use marijuana and marijuana-derived drugs to treat various medical conditions,” Feinstein said. “This important legislation will reduce the red tape surrounding the research process and help bring FDA-approved marijuana-derived drugs safely to patients.”
“The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn more about the potential health benefits of marijuana, but today’s federal laws stand in the way of finding those answers,” Schatz said. “We are now one step closer to removing excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the efficacy and safety of marijuana, and hopefully offer patients more treatment options.”
Currently, both marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD), which contain more than 0.3 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC), are classified as Schedule I drugs. As a result, medical research is subject to strict regulations that can hamper new developments. CBD is largely unregulated, but thousands of parents across the country have used CBD oil to help their children suffering from intractable epilepsy. Few marijuana-derived products have been approved by the FDA, and little information is available about their drug interactions, appropriate doses, or delivery mechanisms.
The goal of the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act is to ensure that research on CBD and other potentially beneficial marijuana-derived substances is based on sound science, while at the same time breaking down the regulatory barriers associated with conducting research on marijuana will. The bill also requires HHS and NIH to submit a report to Congress on the potential harms and benefits of marijuana use.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thom Tillis (RN.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). . , Kevin Cramer (RN.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
The full text of the law can be found HERE.