Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) yesterday introduced the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act, a bill to encourage scientific and medical research on marijuana and its compounds including cannabidiol, or CBD.
“Because of restrictive regulations, we still do not understand exactly how medical marijuana can be used to safely treat a variety of conditions where it may be far more useful than current treatments,” said Senator Feinstein. “This bill, which passed the Senate unanimously last year, would streamline the research process to allow FDA-approved marijuana-derived medications to be used to treat serious medical conditions. Millions may ultimately benefit from a new, safe treatment for conditions like intractable epilepsy once this bill becomes law.”
“I’ve been a strong supporter of this legislation since it was first introduced in 2016. During my time in the Senate, I’ve heard directly from constituents who want safe and effective treatment options for their families, which could include options derived from the marijuana plant.” Senator Grassley said. “This bipartisan bill is critical to better understanding the marijuana plant and its potential benefits and negative side effects. It will empower the FDA to analyze CBD and medical marijuana products in a safe and responsible way so that the American public can decide whether to utilize them in the future based on sound scientific data. This is a smart step forward in addressing this current schedule I drug.”
“The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits, but our federal laws today are standing in the way of that inquiry,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options.”
Identical legislation introduced by Feinstein, Grassley and Schatz during the 116th Congress passed the Senate unanimously.
In addition to Feinstein, Grassley and Schatz, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska).
Full text of the bill is available here.
- Currently, both marijuana and CBD containing more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC) are classified as Schedule I drugs. As a result, research is subject to stringent regulations that can pose an obstacle to medical research.
- CBD is largely unregulated. But thousands of parents nationwide have used CBD oil to help their children who suffer from intractable epilepsy.
- The bill requires HHS and NIH to submit a report to Congress within a year of the bills enactment into law on the potential harms and benefits of marijuana use.
- Few marijuana-derived products have been FDA-approved, and there is little available information about their interactions with other medications, 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 simultaneously reducing the regulatory barriers associated with conducting research on marijuana.
A list of organizations that have endorsed this bill is available here.
A one-page summary of the bill’s provisions is available here.