The Obama Administration is looking to remove major barriers that are hindering marijuana research, according to government officials who announced the decision on Wednesday. This move will allow more states to conduct research on the drug which is believed to cure many diseases.
For many years, only the University of Mississippi was legally allowed to grow marijuana for medical research. The restrictions significantly curbed medical research, with many scientists speaking out against them saying it could take years to obtain approvals. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will soon allow other universities to grow marijuana, according to three government officials, who decided to remain anonymous. This change is met with some skepticism from marijuana advocates, since earlier this year the DEA said it will remove marijuana from the list of most dangerous drugs by end of June but nothing substantial has been done till now.
It hasn’t been confirmed exactly how many universities will be allowed to avail this facility, but the policy doesn’t set a limit. Any institution that has proper research credentials and security protocols regarding drug storage will qualify, but they will still have to receive proper approval from the relevant authorities to conduct medical studies on marijuana, including from the DEA and Food and Drug Administration. Drug policy advocates, experts and researchers have applauded this move, and said that increasing the number of institutions conducting marijuana research will have a positive effect.
Recent studies have backed the claim of marijuana’s positive effects on health. A new study conducted by researchers Ashley Bradford and W David Bradford at the University of Georgia has found that medical marijuana laws reduce prescription drug use in Medicare Part D, the policy section that deals with subsidizing the costs of prescription drugs and prescription drug insurance premiums for Medicare users. The researchers identified nine conditions for which medical marijuana has evidence of efficacy in treatment including, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and pain. They compared overall prescriptions for other existing drugs in states where medical marijuana is legal versus states where it is illegal. They also analyzed Medicare Part D spending in states that have legalized medical marijuana. So it’s time to get high — for the love of science, obviously.