In a request for information published last week, the National Institutes on Health (NIH) indicated that marijuana has been used for thousands of years for therapeutic purposes despite the lack of sufficient data supporting such medicinal use. The agency is now looking to identify the barriers that have been making it hard for the scientific community to study this plant and its constituents.
In that notice, the top federal agency revealed that eight agencies under its umbrella are partnering in this effort to collect information spelling out why conducting cannabis research is difficult. The barriers could include the current federal classification of the substance as a Schedule 1 drug.
The NIH goes on to say that despite the fact that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved therapies that are based on cannabinoids, there is no scientific basis to support some of the medical uses for which cannabis has been legalized at state level. For that reason, the agency wants to know the barriers in the way of conducting research to ascertain the specific benefits or potential risks associated with using marijuana to manage different health conditions. Such needed research would provide scientific proof of the efficacy or otherwise of marijuana for different clinical indications so that policymakers and the general population can make informed decisions.
The notice spells out some of the barriers hindering marijuana research. These include unanticipated costs incurred during the process of obtaining a license to conduct a study on marijuana, lack of an appropriate quantity and quality of research-grade marijuana as well as a shortage of the right tools to measure different aspects of marijuana use.
The note mentioning the lack of suitable marijuana products for research may be an indirect reference to the fact that for several decades, only one government-owned facility in Mississippi was allowed to produce the marijuana used for research purposes. Numerous complaints have been voiced about the quality of this marijuana, with some saying it was closer to hemp than the marijuana people access in state-legal retail outlets. The Drug Enforcement Administration has since granted licenses to additional suppliers and manufacturers, and there is pressure to permit scientists to gain direct access to the marijuana products sold in retail outlets so that any research done reflects the realities of what people are using.
The RFI published says that the agency wants to gain a better understanding of those barriers and eventually come up with remedies to ease the work of studying marijuana. The NIH also outlined the specific aspects it was interested in obtaining input about. Those include the research gaps where data is needed, the desirable infrastructure to facilitate the needed research, how the NIH can help expand scientific research into cannabis and so on. The deadline for receiving the input is Oct. 15, 2022.
Hopefully, the information gathered will result in the implementation of much-needed reforms so that industry actors such as Prime Harvest Inc. can avoid jumping through endless hoops whenever they want to conduct studies geared at furthering their corporate goals.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Prime Harvest Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/PRIME
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