A bi-partisan measure on cannabis research recently introduced in the U.S. Congress puts a particular emphasis on clearing a path for expanded studies of CBD.
“I strongly believe such research is necessary, especially for cannabidiol,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. The “Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act” aims to advance medical research into the benefits of CBD and other cannabis-derived substances.
“This bill paves the way for new research to be conducted with greater ease to determine if cannabidiol can be an effective medication for serious illnesses such as intractable epilepsy.”
Sen. Feinstein and Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican introduced the measure to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control late last month. It is co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois, and Republicans Thom Tillis (North Carolina) and Joni Ernst (Iowa).
“The parents of children with severe epilepsy and other conditions are interested in cannabidiol to try to ease their children’s symptoms,” Grassley said. “I understand their interest. Research is necessary to determine the potential medical value of cannabidiol, and wherever possible, the government should help facilitate the scientific research needed to give these parents the answers they need.”
Currently classified as a Schedule I drug in the USA, CBD is subject to strict regulations, which has posed a “significant obstacle to medical developments and research,” the sponsors said in a release. “Thousands of parents nationwide have used CBD oil to help their children who suffer from intractable epilepsy, often with positive results,” according to the statement. “However, because no drug products containing CBD have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to date, CBD is unregulated and its effectiveness is unpredictable.”
The Act aims to ensure research on CBD and other potentially beneficial cannabis-derived compounds is based on sound science while at the same time knocking down regulatory barriers.
Key provisions of the bill include:
• Requiring the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to complete an analysis to determine the medical value of CBD within one year.
• Allowing research on CBD to be conducted using a Schedule II registration, rather than the more stringent Schedule I classification.
• Streamlining the process by which researchers notify the federal government of changes to their research protocols or quantity of marijuana needed.
• Reducing research barriers by requiring changes to approved protocols to be determined in 30 days.
• Allowing accredited research institutions, medical schools, practitioners and pharmaceutical companies to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess marijuana or cannabidiol for the purpose of authorized medical research.
• Creating a pathway for the commercial production of FDA-approved marijuana-derived medications.
• Allowing the possession of non-psychoactive components of marijuana solely for the treatment of epilepsy.
• Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to expand research on CBD and other non-psychoactive components of marijuana.
See the full measure.