They Don’t Care? –
NOVEMBER 25, 2019 – There are several ways to cut through the current obstacles to marijuana research. Certainly, reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug would solve the access problems. substances in this category are available to researchers from several facilities licensed by states or the federal government. Researchers would still be required to register with the DEA and report on purchases, distribution, and destruction of the marijuana used in their studies.
If the DEA remains unwilling to reclassify marijuana, one significant advance would be to quickly approve more growers. In addition, the DEA needs to allow the growers to expand the varieties of marijuana available for research — and those need to be varieties that can be inhaled, ingested, or applied to the skin.
Researchers also need to be able to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries so they can study the actual products that consumers are buying and using. Currently, we don’t know what’s in the products, including the levels of THC, which causes marijuana’s high, organic compounds called terpenes that may reduce inflammation, and pesticides and heavy metals that can be toxic. To provide this necessary access, the DEA could begin allowing licensed local growers to have their products approved for inclusion in its online purchasing system.
Assuming that all the administrative and access obstacles are addressed, we still won’t be able to close the critical knowledge gap without additional funding. In 2017, for example, out of its $33 billion budget.