Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today announced that, in response to their request, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will conduct its first “eight-factor analysis” of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant. This comprehensive analysis will help determine the substance’s potential medical benefit and could ease the ability to conduct further research on it.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this week posted a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it will eliminate an additional bureaucratic requirement for research on marijuana. Privately-funded researchers will no longer have to submit their research proposals for an additional review by the Public Health Service, a requirement that did not apply to any other Schedule I substance.
“The policy changes announced by the Justice Department and HHS are significant breakthroughs. For the first time, the federal government will conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine whether cannabidiol has scientific and medical value,” said Senator Feinstein. “Removing barriers to outside research will also help us better understand the appropriate strength and dosages that may be useful in treating serious medical conditions, such as intractable epilepsy.”
“It’s good to see that as Senator Feinstein and I requested, the federal government will conduct a scientific and medical evaluation of cannabidiol. This analysis is long overdue,” said Senator Grassley. “The results of the evaluation, as well as the streamlining of the research process, will bring us closer to understanding the potential medical value of this substance for thousands of children with intractable epilepsy and other debilitating conditions.”
In May, Feinstein and Grassley wrote to DOJ and HHS, urging them to determine whether cannabidiol should be rescheduled and asking the agencies to clarify their conflicting positions on existing barriers to cannabidiol research.
These letters followed up on October 2014 letters, which asked the agencies for their positions on federal barriers to conducting medical marijuana research.