DFCR Supports the “Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act”
The “Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act” is under consideration in the United States federal legislature. Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) strongly supports this Act, which will:
The summary proposal has been endorsed by mainstream medical organizations like American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Society of Addiction Medicine, as well as pro-legalization groups such as Americans for Safe Access, Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, and NORML.
Scientists have been significantly hampered in researching the potential health benefits of cannabis since the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act first initiated legal barriers to cannabis importation, cultivation, possession, and distribution; cannabis was subsequently removed from the US Pharmacopeia in the early 1940s. This unfounded penalization continued despite the New York Academy of Medicine’s 1944 La Guardia Committee report, which contradicted claims that cannabis use was causing the social and health defects being claimed and sensationalized by the federal government. It is now time that we return to engagement with the study and use of the cannabis plant with reasonable policies rooted in evidence and justice.
A strong and growing body of evidence supports the use of cannabis and its components in the symptom management of pain, spasticity, insomnia, and subjective stress relief as well as a systemic anti-inflammatory, anti-malignancy, and anti-neurodegenerative agent. Formal research is essential for studying these promising therapeutic compounds. We also encourage study on the various delivery methods for cannabis and its components, in whole-plant and isolated forms via inhalation (smoking, whole-plant vaporization, oil vaporization), edible, topical, and targeted forms and in varying ratios/concentrations. The United States performs the most biomedical research in the world and it is critically important that our scientists are able to study its potential health benefits in addition to its well-researched harms. Thus, we strongly support the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act as a solution to this chronic limitation in potentially life-changing scientific research.
Recommended Change to the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act
DFCR recommends that the language of the bill be altered such that the plant name is referred to by its scientific genus, Cannabis, rather than the historically pejorative term (based in a xenophobic history) of “marihuana.”
As professional leaders in medical/medicinal cannabis policy, we must uphold our ethical duty to support social justice and health equity as equivalently as we center generalized health and research justice, which is impacted by all of the revisions suggested above. While we acknowledge that “great can be the enemy of good” when it comes to enhancing policy over which there has been controversy and disagreement across ideologies, we also fail to do our duty to protect our patients within the medical and legal systems if we do not encourage policy reform that ensures reasonably and holistically equal protections under the law for all.
Thus, we also would encourage support of current legislation being considered (e.g. like the MORE Act), as well as new legislation, that will the reschedule/deschedule cannabis, ensures flexibility in the FDA approval process to support FDA-approved formulations as well as the regulation of whole-plant options under which FDA control is not authorized, makes it unlawful for healthcare institutions to discriminate against patients who use cannabis lawfully in their state, and makes it lawful for certified clinical practitioners to evaluate, authorize use, and manage the use of home-grown and market-grade products that are not specifically authorized by the FDA as medications in legal states.
The “Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act” is an important and highly welcomed step towards studying the cannabis plant, for which we commend United States federal legislators in creation and consideration for advancement to law.