The ongoing debate over marijuana and related research continues as Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) made a statement on the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, recently introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators. Campaigners are currently trying to show lawmakers that legalizing marijuana will be beneficial to the public, the prison system, and the economy. They hope that the wider acceptance of marijuana by the mainstream public with more people looking to buy it, learn how much water to put in their bubblers, and expressing more of a positive opinion on the drug will help them get the drug legalized.
Stating that she has been working across the aisle to help reduce barriers to marijuana research, Feinstein said she believes that federal action is the next logical step.
“I’m currently reviewing the medical marijuana legislation and look forward to its consideration in the Judiciary Committee,” said Feinstein.
Feinstein has stated that she has coauthored letters to the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with questions on how to expand research into the potential medical benefits of cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of marijuana that is believed to provide seizure relief for children with intractable epilepsy and other serious illnesses, but the legality is still up for debate in the US. In other countries such as the Netherlands, governments are opening up to the use of “CBD olie” (cannabidiol extract oil) to treat these illnesses. It is believed that, as the oil contains no THC (the active chemical in marijuana as a recreational drug), it can be used safely as a medicinal product. Many people in the US can access this oil from sellers such as Blessed CBD oil and this hints that a possible lowering of research barriers could happen, but the debate continues. In addition to research and reseller services, the growing popularity of medical marijuana has paved the way for 420 subscription services as a way to find CBD oil and other marijuana-based products to aid with medical treatments. Still, many may look to their medical professional to see if CBD products are right for them.
“The responses we received indicated some disagreement between agencies,” said Feinstein. “HHS agreed that barriers need to be addressed, but DOJ disagreed. Given this conflict, we are exploring options that would allow this important research to proceed.”
She noted that the federal government has not conducted a scientific, medical analysis of cannabidiol, in isolation from marijuana, to conclude its medical value; Feinstein called it necessary.
The Obama Administration has stated that it, “Steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people,” according to Whitehouse.gov.
However, the White House recognizes the prevalent discussion of marijuana and has stated that finding research-based information to determine health-effects and the balances between state and Federal-laws is difficult.
“While I believe research should move forward, I also believe we should proceed with caution,” said Feinstein. “I remain concerned about the high level of THC in marijuana, which has tripled since the 1980s and increases the likelihood of addiction. This may well be a continuing problem, which could pose a threat to public safety.”
In her letter to the DOJ, Feinstein explicitly stated that she does not support the use of smoked medical marijuana