Federal Government Finally Funds Research that Explores Positive Uses of Marijuana
For those conducting studies of the harmful effects of marijuana, the federal government has usually been willing to share from its stash, which comes from the only federally sanctioned pot farm in the country. But those looking to find positive uses for the drug have always found Uncle Sam to be bogarting his joint.
Until now. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finally approved the sale of federally grown marijuana for a study that would research whether pot could help veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Food and Drug Administration approved the study back in 2011, but University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley, who will conduct the study, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is funding it, were unable to get marijuana.
“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we've been granted permission to purchase marijuana from [the National Institute on Drug Abuse],” the group said in a statement.
MAPS head Rick Doblin had threatened to get veterans to go to Washington to protest the government’s lack of action. HHS’s marijuana review committee said it changed its mind and granted permission to purchase marijuana after Doblin made changes in his proposal.
Although many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I narcotic, which means the drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical utility.
Many have urged the federal government to relax rules on who may get pot for research and to allow research marijuana to be grown places other than the government’s 12-acre plot on the campus of the University of Mississippi.
Last February, the Epilepsy Foundation said more marijuana research might help those with epilepsy who are living with uncontrolled seizures, according to McClatchy. The organization said that efforts to stop seizures “should not be determined by one’s zip code,” a reference to the patchwork of laws governing marijuana use around the nation.
“We’ve actually had more than 100 families who are living with epilepsy move to Colorado to get access for their kids to a preparation of medical marijuana,” Epilepsy Foundation chairman Warren Lammert, whose 16-year-old daughter Sylvie has daily seizures caused by epilepsy, told McClatchy. “But marijuana that’s available to patients can’t be studied.”
To Learn More:
Feds Accused Of Steering Funding To Anti-Pot Researchers (by Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy)
Federal Government Signs Off On Study Using Marijuana To Treat Veterans' PTSD (by Matthew Perrone, Associated Press)
Obama Administration Blocks FDA-Approved Study of Marijuana for Veterans (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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