Legal weeds are everywhere – unless you are a researcher

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                  A research facility at the University of Mississippi is the only place in the country authorized to grow and test marijuana for medical research | Brennan Linsley / AP Photo [19659003] Americans may legitimately buy high quality marijuana in most states, but when scientists want to study the pot in a laboratory, they are basically fixed with schwag. </p><div class=

A little-known research facility at the University of Mississippi is the only place in the country authorized To grow and test marijuana for medical research purposes, however, this effort is stymied by a slow process of certification of researchers, lack of funding and, according to potters, a poorer product compared to what the thriving cannabis sector has rolled out in recent years.

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"There is brown, muddy rubbish", said Peter Grinspoon, a doctor and board member of Doctors for Cannabis Research ft, describing Mississippi stoc k.

Meanwhile, 33 states now allow medical marijuana, including 10 states and the District of Columbia, which have taken further steps to decriminalize or legalize the recreational pot. This major link between the federal government's marijuana supervision and the blossoming of a robust cannabis consumer market has real world implications: Legitimate medical examination of the effects of cannabis on everything from anxiety to Parkinson's disease is not only curbed – researchers don & # 39; T even has a product that is suitable for use worldwide.

DEA insists it supports medical marijuana research, but it has resisted conversations to reclassify the plant so it does not clot with addictive substances such as heroin and ecstasy. When DEA took action in 2016 to extend the offer to researchers, Advocate General Jeff Sessions held final approval. Several bipartisan accounts aimed at expanding research were introduced to the outgoing congress, but none did it.

And now scientists and lawmakers say that lawyers' campaign to complete the legitimacy of marijuana is out for a better science.

"It's almost a catch-22," said Staci Gruber, a neurologist from Harvard studying cannabis-based medicine as a treatment for anxiety. "These products are widely available to the public. But as clinical researchers, we cannot administer a drop in a clinical trial."

The sweeping agricultural enhancement law of 2018, HR 2 (115), better known as Farm Bill, and signed in law by President Donald Trump on Thursday – legalizing ham production and with the potential sale of cannabidiol or CBD, a component of marijuana and hemp plants that have no psychoactive properties to get people tall. It is said to have anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits, but medical efficiency issues remain.

CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in marijuana plants, which remain illegal under federal law, although so many states have liberalized the rules. The other key identified as having healing properties is THC, which gets people high. Some preliminary studies suggest that both of these marijuana components, and possibly many others, can help with ailments ranging from multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The initial signals have begun hope that much more could be in store: an alternative to opioids for pain, treatments for autistic children and even cancer treatment. But the evidence is still thin – although more and more people are using marijuana as a medicine for all kinds of ailments and disorders.

Outside the public sanctioned pot, DEA has approved an importer to deliver marijuana for a single study. Mississippi's stash looks increasingly smaller.

And it is not easy for medical researchers to access the malignant marijuana. They must obtain FDA approval for their proposed study, and review DEA controls for necessary warranties, such as having a limited access area with a top shelf safe for the fabric.

Only eight scientists removed that bar in 2010. That number has increased the message since then, to 20 researchers in 2017 according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which manages the Mississippi contract.

Even then, fulfilling the DEA laboratory requirements and getting approvals for new studies – including those previously verified – is costly to take up to a year, Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Ryan Vandrey later wrote to senators asking for change.

But the state's focus is on full legalization in ways that make it more difficult to stick to the research agenda. In fact, some legal guardians say research bills are a stall tactics of the federal government. Focusing on medical barriers – and not redirecting the drug or carrying out a more comprehensive justice reform than the newly adopted first step act, HR 5682 (115) – could slow down marijuana's state-run speed.

The potters will have a congressional flush with new house democrats to "juggle this problem," as Michael Collins, the Drug Policy Alliance's national officer, put it.

But some lawmakers will keep the science on the table – including Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who also repays wider legalization measures.

"The most important next step is to allow the FDA to properly measure and study the effect of marijuana," said Schatz to POLITICO. "There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence and even some clinical evidence that this is worth pursuing."

Schatz is co-sponsor of the MEDS Act, S. 1803 (115), a bill introduced in 2017 to reduce research barriers as cumbersome, sometimes redundant, requirements between DEA and the FDA. Runoff Republican Senor Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had been the leading co-sponsor of the bill, but Schatz said other Republicans such as Cory Gardner (R.-Colo.) And Thom Tillis (RN.C.) are also sponsors so that it has bipartisan support.

The sanction of CBD products through the farm description can put pressure on medical requirements. Concerned by the major health requirements made about CBD and other cannabis-derived products, the FDA will soon gather a public meeting, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement when the bill was signed.

The FDA is ready to look at marketing rules and how the agency can make legal avenues more effective for CBD and cannabis-derived products such as GW Pharma's Epidiolex – the first FDA-approved cannabis-based drug to treat a particular form of epilepsy – to enter the market, Gottlieb said. [19659004] Several cannabis-based substances can get into the pipeline. While pharmaceutical companies have not so much incentives in marijuana research earlier, because it is already readily available to humans, GW Pharma follows companies such as Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, developing a topical cannabis gel and pharma giants such as Novartis, which recently became a worldwide marijuana partnership. distribution.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams on POLITICO's Pulse Check podcast recently also called to "make it as easy as possible" for qualified graduates to investigate marijuana benefits and risks. But the nation's top leader did not rush to approve wider reforms.

"I'm certainly not for legalizing marijuana, re-scheduling it, but I want to make sure we're researching so that political decisions are evidence-based" Adams said.

This attitude puts Adams and other regulators in a dead end with many researchers. Marijuana's Schedule I classification – the high-risk category for drugs with "no approved medical use and high potential for abuse" such as heroin and LSD – makes it difficult to buy, store and study the drug. It also means that DEA, even when the FDA approved a cannabis treatment – like the epilepsy – has an expression of whether it can be sold and shipped.

"We do not suggest that everyone should have unlimited access to all of the time," says Gruber, neurologist Harvard, who studies cannabis and anxiety. "But it seems quite incomprehensible that we do not have the opportunity to access them things. "

Anti-legalization guardians have driven another idea: Make a special breakout part of Schedule I drugs for marijuana research only.

There may be a bridge between staunch pot conservatives who shared former lawyer's hostility and those who favor more limited limitations or full legalization, said Kevin Sabet, a former White House Office's National Drug Policy Advisor, whose group's Smart Approaches to Marijuana oppose full legalization.

That's exactly what pro-pot lawyers are worried.

"What they do is stop for time," said Drugs Policy Alliance's Collins. "The progress is behind our movement and I think they are trying to resort to any life-raft that will save them from being swept under. "

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