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Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act Yet To Show Any Signs Of Progress

In December 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act into law. This new legislation was designed to facilitate medical cannabis research in the United States by allowing more federally sanctioned studies of the plant and its compounds.

The bill also aimed to expand access to marijuana research materials, formerly tightly controlled by federal authorities. Under the act, the DEA is given full authority over granting research licenses and creating regulations for utilizing cannabis-based substances for scientific purposes.

Furthermore, funding provisions were included in the bill that would allow researchers access to much-needed resources to undertake more comprehensive clinical trials on marijuana’s potential therapeutic applications.

However, since the passage of this landmark legislation, there has been very little progress when it comes to actual research studies. This raises some questions about the efficacy of the act and why federal agencies have yet to grant any new licenses for research projects involving marijuana.

In this article, we will explore the obstacles that may be preventing access to federally approved cannabis research materials. We will also discuss the role of the DEA and NIDA in ensuring the effective implementation of the law and comments from a principal investigator on an FDA-approved clinical trial involving cannabis.

Lack of Progress in Research Since Passage of Act

Since the passage of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act six months ago, there has been little to no progress in terms of actual research studies. Despite the fact that this law was explicitly designed to facilitate medical cannabis research in the US, no new licenses have been issued by federal authorities for accessing marijuana research materials.

This lack of movement has led some observers to question whether or not this law has any real chance of success or if it is simply a symbolic gesture meant to appease opponents of cannabis legalization.

The truth is likely somewhere in between – while certainly well-intentioned, it appears that certain obstacles may be preventing researchers from making meaningful progress with their studies.

In order to understand why this may be the case, we must first examine the various hurdles that researchers face when trying to obtain access to federally approved cannabis research materials.

A Look at the Obstacles Surrounding Research

When it comes to researching cannabis and its potential therapeutic benefits, researchers must overcome several obstacles to gain access to federally approved marijuana research materials.

The first obstacle is funding – without adequate resources, it can be difficult for researchers to cover all of their associated costs, including personnel, equipment, and other supplies needed for conducting studies. As such, many scientists have been unable to take advantage of the opportunity granted by the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act due to the lack of available funding.

Another obstacle is the onerous federal review process that researchers must go through to receive approval for their studies. The DEA and NIDA have established a system where any research project involving marijuana must be reviewed and approved by multiple government agencies, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Finally, there may be an issue with access to actual marijuana plants or derivatives for use in scientific trials. Despite the act’s passage, much of the marijuana used in federally-funded studies is still sourced from a single farm at the University of Mississippi – making it difficult for researchers to obtain different strains or varieties for comparison purposes.

These obstacles appear to prevent many researchers from taking advantage of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act.

The DEA and NIDA’s Role in Research Under the Act

In order to ensure that researchers have access to marijuana-based materials for scientific purposes, the DEA and NIDA have taken steps to streamline the review process for obtaining federally approved cannabis research materials.

The two agencies have created a system where any researcher wishing to conduct studies on marijuana must submit an application for approval. This includes detailed information about their proposed project and all necessary paperwork required by respective government departments.

Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the DEA and NIDA, who will decide whether to grant approval for the study. The agencies also have the power to reject any applications they find inadequate.

This system has been in place since the passage of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act. However, it appears that even with this streamlined process in place, there have still been no new research licenses granted since its inception.

Perspective on Cannabis Clinical Trial

Sue Sisley is a principal investigator on an FDA/DEA-approved clinical trial for medical marijuana. In a recent article with MJBizDaily, Sisley said, “In fact, we have not seen any benefits in velocity of marijuana research from this new law. And I question whether the law had any value,”

Sisley was also asked if she believed the bill had advanced research into medical marijuana. “If you’re asking, ‘Has the bill greased the wheels for research?’ – I don’t think anybody can endorse that,”

In conclusion, it appears that since the passage of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act six months ago, there has been little to no progress in terms of actual research studies. Despite this law being designed specifically to facilitate medical cannabis research in the US, no new licenses have been issued by federal authorities for accessing marijuana research materials.

This lack of movement has led some observers to question whether or not this law has any real chance of success or if it is simply a symbolic gesture meant to placate opponents of cannabis legalization. There are a number of obstacles preventing researchers from making meaningful progress with their studies, including funding constraints and an arduous review process from government agencies such as the DEA and NIDA.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act will ever achieve its intended purpose. Still, as of now, it seems like it is designed to fail or, at best, be stagnant or inactive.


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