New U.S. Law Will Boost Marijuana Research
December 9, 2022
President Biden signed a medical marijuana research bill into law last week, making it easier for scientists to access the drug to study its therapeutic uses.
“For decades, the federal government has stood in the way of science and progress—peddling a misguided and discriminatory approach to cannabis,” Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Brian Mast (R-FL) wrote in a statement. “Today marks a monumental step in remedying our federal cannabis laws.”
Marijuana—defined legally as cannabis with more than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—has been legalized for recreational use in 21 states and several others have approved it for medical use. While doctors cannot formally prescribe marijuana, they can recommend it to patients with conditions ranging from severe and chronic pain to Alzheimer's disease to epilepsy and seizures. The FDA has approved a few THC-derived medications to treat nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy and to treat loss of appetite in people with AIDS. Some research suggests the drug could be useful for treating depression and PTSD. Health effects include breathing problems, increased nausea and vomiting, anxiety and paranoia. The drug may also affect fetal development during pregnancy and brain development in young users.