WASHINGTON – In response to a request from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Justice Department said it will conduct its first “eight-factor analysis” of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant. This comprehensive analysis will help determine the substance’s potential medical benefit and could ease the ability to conduct further research on it.
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this week posted a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it will eliminate an additional bureaucratic requirement for research on marijuana. Privately funded researchers will no longer have to submit their research proposals for an additional review by the Public Health Service, a requirement that did not apply to any other Schedule I substance. The senators questioned the need for this additional review in their earlier letter to the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services in October 2014.
“It’s good to see that as Senator Feinstein and I requested, the federal government will conduct a scientific and medical evaluation of cannabidiol. This analysis is long overdue,” Grassley said. “The results of the evaluation, as well as the streamlining of the research process, will bring us closer to understanding the potential medical value of this substance for thousands of children with intractable epilepsy and other debilitating conditions.”
“The policy changes announced by the Justice Department and HHS are significant breakthroughs. For the first time, the federal government will conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine whether cannabidiol has scientific and medical value,” Feinstein said. “Removing barriers to outside research will also help us better understand the appropriate strength and dosages that may be useful in treating serious medical conditions, such as intractable epilepsy.”
In May, the senators wrote to the agencies, urging them to determine whether cannabidiol should be rescheduled and asking them to clarify their conflicting positions on existing barriers to cannabidiol research.
These letters followed up on an October 2014 letter, which asked the agencies for their positions on federal barriers to conducting medical marijuana research.