Dec 16 2020
Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) today applauded the Senate passage last night of their Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act, a bill to encourage scientific and medical research on marijuana and its compounds including cannabidiol, or CBD.
“Existing regulations make medical marijuana research difficult and have prevented us from understanding exactly how medical marijuana can be used safely and effectively to treat various conditions,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our bill streamlines the research process and paves the way for marijuana-derived medications that are FDA-approved to treat serious medical conditions, like intractable epilepsy, in a way that will keep consumers safe.”
“I’ve been a strong supporter and lead Republican of this legislation since it was first introduced in 2016. This bipartisan bill is critical to better understanding the marijuana plant and its potential benefits and 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,” Senator Grassley said. “Researching marijuana is widely supported by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and it’s a smart step forward in addressing this current schedule I drug.”
“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,” said Senator Schatz. “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.”
This bill combines a bill previously introduced by Senators Feinstein and Grassley (the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act) with a bill previously introduced by Senator Schatz (the Marijuana Effective Drug Studies Act.)
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), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), 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 Marihuana 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.