The federal government has removed a big barrier to cannabis research, eliminating a 16-year-old requirement that made it difficult to study the medical aspects of marijuana.
The requirement forced all non-federally funded marijuana research to go through a Public Health Service (PHS) review, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notice that’s scheduled to be published in the National Register tomorrow.
The Huffington Post first reported on the notice.
Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, according to the federal government, meaning it contains no medicinal value. Despite anecdotal evidence, cannabis advocates have little scientific backing that says it has medical properties, and research has been stifled for decades due to federal prohibition.
The PHS review was found to overlap with a Food & Drug Administration review process and is no longer necessary, according to the DHHS.
Both the PHS and FDA requirements, while not identical, have similar goals and share criteria, the department said.
Groups that want to conduct research on MMJ will still need to adhere to the FDA protocols, undergo scientific review and possess a registration for marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration, among other requirements.