Bipartisan lawmakers offer congressional bill to promote cannabis, CBD research

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A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a federal bill to bolster marijuana and CBD research, a move that could encourage more doctors to recommend medical cannabis and expand legalization efforts.

The bill also would amend the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act to exclude the synthetic equivalent of hemp-derived CBD that contains less than 0.3% THC.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, introduced the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act.

“Our combined bill streamlines the research process and paves the way for marijuana-derived medications that are FDA-approved to keep consumers safe,” Feinstein said in a news release, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Grassley and Schatz added that research is necessary to determine the potential medical and health benefits of the substances.

The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of six U.S. senators. It also has the backing of the American Medical Association.

Some of the bill’s key provisions would:

  • Expedite and simplify the process for reviewing and approving marijuana research applications.
  • Streamline the development of FDA-approved substances using CBD and marijuana.
  • Allow doctors to discuss with adult patients the potential harms and benefits of marijuana and derivatives such as CBD.
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to report to Congress on the potential effects of marijuana on the body, adolescent brain and cognitive abilities.