Cannabis Conundrum: Demonstrating “Accepted Medical Use” in a Restricted Research Environment

Cannabis Business Executive

Delia A. Deschaine and Megan Robertson, attorneys in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, co-authored an article in Cannabis Business Executive, titled “Cannabis Conundrum: Demonstrating ‘Accepted Medical Use’ in a Restricted Research Environment.”

Following is an excerpt:

U.S. cannabis businesses operate in an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment.  Many, if not most, of those complexities stem from marijuana’s classification in Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act. That classification hinges on the determination that marijuana lacks a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Thus, the need for research on the potential therapeutic benefits and risks of marijuana use is critical.

Academic medical centers, hospitals, and other researchers have historically faced challenges in conducting research on cannabis and cannabis-derived material. While the federal government has taken significant steps to remove or reduce some of these obstacles in recent years, many still remain. To say the least, it takes a degree of sophistication, and some careful maneuvering, to navigate the research marketplace and source cannabis, or cannabinoids, that are of sufficient quality and quantity for use in research.

In the article below, we explore the historic regulation of marijuana for research in the U.S. and highlight the relevant changes that have improved access to cannabis research material. We also examine the considerations that researchers have to make today, and the ways that federal policy can be improved to create better access, and promote research, that is desperately needed to advance sound cannabis policy.