U.S. Senate Passes Legislation to Expand Cannabis Research
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U.S. Senate Passes Legislation to Expand Cannabis Research

The bill, S. 253, would expand scientific and medical research on cannabis and its compounds, including CBD.

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March 28, 2022

A bill that cleared the U.S. Senate March 24 would expand scientific and medical research on cannabis and its compounds, including CBD.

S. 253, titled the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act, is sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and cosponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

The bill aims “to ensure that research on CBD and other potentially beneficial marijuana-derived substances is based on sound science while simultaneously reducing the regulatory barriers associated with conducting research on marijuana,” according to an announcement from Feinstein’s office.

Because cannabis containing more than 0.3% THC remains classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, strict regulations continue to govern medical cannabis research and few cannabis-derived products have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Current rules and regulations make it hard for researchers to study how marijuana and marijuana-derived medications can best be used to treat various conditions,” Feinstein said in a public statement. “This important legislation will cut the red tape around the research process, helping get FDA-approved, marijuana-derived medications safely to patients.”

In addition to removing some of these barriers to research, S. 253 would also require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit a report to Congress on the potential harms and benefits of cannabis use.

“This bipartisan bill is critical to better understanding the marijuana plant and its potential benefits and side effects,” Grassley said in a public statement. “It will empower the FDA to analyze CBD and medical marijuana products in a safe and responsible way so that the American public can decide whether to utilize them in the future based on sound scientific data. Researching marijuana is widely supported by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and it’s a smart step forward in addressing this current Schedule I drug."