Jun 20 2016

MEDS Act Would Eliminate Excessive Obstacles That Make it Difficult for Researchers to Conduct Valid Medical Studies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Chris Coons (D-DE) to introduce the Marijuana Effective Drug Studies (MEDS) Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for researchers to study the medical effectiveness and safety of marijuana. Similar legislation is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), H. Morgan Griffith (R-A), and Sam Farr (D-CA).

“When it comes to our nation’s efforts to cure diseases and improve the quality of life for people suffering from ailments, burdensome government regulations shouldn’t be an impediment to legitimate and responsible medical research,” said Senator Tillis. “The MEDS Act is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to remove unnecessary barriers that will give scientists the ability to study the biochemical processes, impact, dosing, risks and possible benefits of cannabidiol and other components of the marijuana plant.”

“The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits, but our federal laws today are standing in the way of that inquiry,” said Senator Schatz. “The MEDS Act will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options.”

“While many patients have high hopes for the medical benefits of marijuana, further clinical research is needed to inform the decisions of policy makers regarding access to marijuana,” said Senator Hatch. “This bill makes targeted changes to the Controlled Substances Act to address specific barriers that encumber medical researchers requesting approval of marijuana research protocols or seeking plant strains for clinical studies. This joint legislative effort between the House and Senate will eliminate redundancies in the regulatory process and enable needed research to better understand the potential medical uses of marijuana.”

“When it comes to Americans’ health and well-being, our public policy should be based on scientific research – not outdated assumptions,” said Senator Coons. “Dozens of states across the country, including my home state of Delaware, have shown that medical marijuana laws can be implemented safely and effectively. With more and more states across the country considering similar policies — an evolution backed by changing public opinion — federal barriers to conducting medical research simply make no sense. When it comes to public health and safety, the federal government should be promoting policies that seek new information and understanding – not standing in the way of science.”

There is a lack of research evaluating the benefits and risks of the therapeutic compounds extracted from the marijuana plant as a possible medication, in large part because of federal barriers that block valuable scientific and clinical research. As a result, millions of Americans are using a drug for medical purposes without scientific guidance with regards to its effectiveness, safety, dosing, route of administration, or standards for quality control. The MEDS Act promotes scientific research and mitigates a significant public health risk.

The MEDS Act is supported by the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Preventive Medical Association, American Pain Society, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Academy of Pain Medicine, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Child Neurology Foundation, Child Neurology Society, and Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.