Jul 22 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-sponsored the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, a bill to support research initiatives on the potential benefits of substances such as cannabidiol (CBD) that are derived from marijuana.

“When it comes to our nation’s efforts to cure diseases, we shouldn’t let regulations be a roadblock to legitimate and responsible medical research,” said Senator Tillis. “The Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to remove unnecessary barriers to give researchers an improved ability to study the potential benefits and risks of cannabidiol and other components that are derived from the marijuana plant.”

The bill was introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Currently, CBD is classified as a Schedule I drug. As a result, research on CBD is subject to stringent regulations, which have posed a significant obstacle to medical developments and research. Thousands of parents nationwide have used CBD oil to help their children who suffer from intractable epilepsy. This promising antidotal evidence has not been able to be validated by FDA- compliant clinical trials due to the regulations that this bill would reduce.

The goal of the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act is to ensure 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.            

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Requiring the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to complete an analysis to determine the medical value of CBD within one year. 
  • Allowing research on CBD to be conducted using a Schedule II registration, rather than the more stringent Schedule I classification.
  • Streamlining the process by which researchers notify the federal government of changes to their research protocols or quantity of marijuana needed.
  • Allowing accredited research institutions, medical schools and pharmaceutical companies located in states that provide such authority to conduct FDA-authorized research.
  • Allowing patients and parents of patients with intractable epilepsy to possess the non-psychoactive substances such as CBD oil for physician approved treatment.