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420 with CNW — Marijuana Research Hurdles Could Remain Despite Federal Rescheduling

The Biden administration’s decision to reclassify cannabis as a less-harmful drug might ease some research challenges, though scientists caution that obstacles will persist. Ziva Cooper, director of the UCLA Center for Marijuana and Cannabinoids, described this moment as historically significant but expressed cautious optimism about the actual implementation of these changes.

Although many Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal, federal restrictions have historically constrained research into its effects and applications. Researchers who have long studied marijuana believe this reclassification could boost funding and interest in research. However, they acknowledge that regulatory and logistical issues may still dampen enthusiasm.

Traci Toomey, who heads the University of Minnesota’s Marijuana Research Center, echoed Cooper’s sentiments. She noted that while some research opportunities might open up, these opportunities will not be entirely unrestricted.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice formally recommended reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule III substance, which recognizes its potential medical benefits and aligns its classification with drugs such as codeine-infused Tylenol, testosterone and ketamine. This shift would not legalize cannabis at the federal level but would remove it from the same category as LSD and heroin, thus reducing some of the restrictions around it.

Recently, an assessment by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that there was some reliable scientific evidence supporting the use of cannabis as a treatment for specific ailments. Nonetheless, some detractors contend that there is insufficient proof to support its medicinal application.

The federal government’s finalization of this reclassification will probably lower certain barriers to study. It will be easier for academics to obtain federal research licenses, and researchers won’t need to store cannabis in costly, highly secure facilities. Moreover, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration would no longer impose quotas on cannabis production for research purposes.

This could make hospitals, universities and even government agencies more willing to support clinical trials involving marijuana, according to Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

However, the impact of FDA regulations on cannabis research remains uncertain. While the FDA normally approves Schedule III drugs, it has not yet approved cannabis for any treatment, although it is commonly used for pain treatment, hunger stimulation and nausea control following chemotherapy.

Furthermore, rescheduling marijuana will not immediately increase the number of FDA-approved facilities where researchers can obtain the drug.

Valerie Ahanonu, head of the University of Utah’s Center for Medical Marijuana Research, highlighted that even years after the legalization of hemp-derived CBD, research remains difficult due to sourcing issues that meet federal standards. Ahanonu stressed the complexity and extensive bureaucratic procedures involved, making it uncertain how much the reclassification will genuinely enhance research opportunities.

Despite these challenges, the potential for expanded research and a greater understanding of marijuana’s medical applications remains promising, and marijuana enterprises such as Aurora Cannabis Corp. (NASDAQ: ACB) (TSX: ACB) are likely to applaud every policy change that moves cannabis a step away from the existing prohibitive restrictions at the federal level.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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