Is the Federal Legalization of Cannabis on the Horizon?


One of the key U.S. Senate committees has recently stated that the Scheduling of cannabis from the federal level is impeding the amount of research that can be done into life-saving cures or treatments. This battle has been going on for some time now, but it now seems as though cannabis could have a louder voice amongst the U.S.

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently stated that “The Committee is concerned that restrictions associated with Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act effectively limit the amount and type of research that can be conducted on certain Schedule 1 drugs, especially marijuana or its component chemicals and certain synthetic drugs.” This concern has been shared throughout the public for some time now, but it is only as of recent that these committees have been able to help take up this cause. The report further stated that “at a time when we need as much information as possible about these drugs, we should be lowering regulatory and other barriers to conducting this research.”

The scheduling of cannabis under federal law means that the substance as far as the national government is concerned has no medicinal benefits as well as a high rate of addiction. Both of these statements have been refuted many times over by various scientific journals and medical reports, but the federal government has yet to listen to these in a serious way.

The Senate panel has been working to direct the National Institute of Drug Abuse to help provide them with a “short report on the barriers to research that result from the classification of drugs and compounds as Schedule I substances.” This will effectively help them to determine how much the research is being blocked by this unfortunate scheduling of the drug. Many research reports have come out showing the amount of benefits that cannabis has to be used as a treatment for anything from seizures to treating various types of cancer. Because of this, the efficacy of using cannabis as a research substance seems to remain incredibly high. This, however, is not the first time that the panel has highlighted the issues with the scheduling and certainly will not be the last. One report states that “the Senate committee has approved a number of marijuana reform amendments over time — including measures last month to protect state medical cannabis laws from Justice Department interference and to increase military veterans’ access to medical marijuana — it also recently blocked a proposal to protect banks that work with marijuana businesses from advancing.”

The scheduling has continued to make it extremely difficult for companies to begin researching the substance. One of the interesting aspects of this whole case come from the fact that a drug using cannabis compounds known as Epidiolex was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. This approval is in stark contrast with how the federal government has appeared to deal with this issue and continues to astound the public.

The committee continued to state that “The Committee is concerned with the rapidly changing landscape regarding the recreational use of marijuana–the effects that the drug can have on brain development; addiction; the long-term health effects in both youth and older individuals,” the senators wrote. “The Committee directs NIH to coordinate a multi-Institute approach to increase research related to the effect of increasing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol levels on the human body as well as the effect of various delta-tetrahydrocannabinol levels on cognitive abilities that are required to, for example, operate motor vehicles.”

The hopes are high that these issues will begin to be solved as we move further into the future of cannabis in this country.


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