Source: The Leaf Online

A bipartisan pair of conservative US Senate prohibitionists has quietly teamed up and been working behind the scenes to get the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate efforts and move quickly to remove barriers to the scientific and medical evaluation of cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient of marijuana, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The natural medicinal compound CBD is not psychoactive and is so medically safe that it is not even listed in the drug schedules of other countries, but here in the USA it is a Schedule 1 controlled substance in order to keep it out of the hands of patients, providers and health care practitioners. It was championed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta when he came out for marijuana legalization in 2013.

The cannabinoid is very useful for children suffering from severe seizure disorders where other drugs either do not work or are too dangerous medically to be used. For that reason and the fact that the Farm Bill of 2015 included an amendment to allow the cultivation of low-THC marijuana in states where hemp farming has been legalized — with no mention of CBD content — has emboldened companies and physicians to treat CBD as an exception to the federal definition of “marihuana.” No one has been federally arrested or prosecuted for providing CBD, but the legal gray area creates an unacceptable risk to many families.

Last year, Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control  that “[i]n addition to epilepsy, the therapeutic potential of CBD is currently being explored for a number of indications, including anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, cancer, pain, inflammatory diseases, and others.” More recently, Rita Rubin, MA, writing in JAMA [2016;316(2):140. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8699], reports that Sen Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa) and Sen Dianne Feinstein (D, Calif) last year asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell for the expedited evaluation of its medical value.

The duo are well known for their strong pro-Drug War stance against a tide of legalization sentiment.

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