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Mon Jun 23, 2014, 01:33 PM

Congress Pushes To Expand Marijuana Research

By Katie Rucke, www.mintpressnews.com
June 21st, 2014

Congress asks the head of Health and Human Services to do away with an additional review process required only for those hoping to study marijuana’s medicinal effects.

Thirty members of Congress signed a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Tuesday, asking that she make the process of obtaining federally-grown marijuana for medicinal research less burdensome for U.S. scientists.

“Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana,” the letter said. “Over one million Americans currently use medical marijuana at the recommendation of their physician. There is overwhelming anecdotal evidence from patients, their family members, and their doctors of the therapeutic benefits of marijuana for those suffering from cancer, epilepsy, seizures, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, glaucoma, anxiety, chronic pain, and more.

“We believe the widespread use of medical marijuana should necessitate research into what specific relief it offers and how it can best be delivered for different people and different conditions. Yet, the scientific research clearly documenting these benefits has often been hampered by federal barriers.”

Since May 21, 1999, scientists interested in conducting research on marijuana’s medicinal values must undergo two review processes if their study is not funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to the review process that applies to other Schedule I substances such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA, researchers must also complete an additional review process before they can be given access to marijuana grown in the United States by the federal government for research purposes.

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