Senate Committee Seeks Testing of Dispensary-Sold Cannabis

U.S. Appropriations Committee Seeks National Testing of Cannabis Products

With the new deeming regulations, tobacco products will have to undergo testing to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but could a similar move be in the works for cannabis products?

According to Forbes, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee is pushing federal agencies to come up with a national testing program for Schedule I Marijuana-products where cannabis has been legalized. Similar to the fight over tobacco products, the Senate panel is concerned about the lack of data and potency and purity of cannabis that consumers are buying through dispensaries.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee is instructing scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to collaborate with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to study marijuana samples with the intent of coming up with data that can be used to help shape policy on this topic. Previously, NIDA has studied samples of illegal marijuana that’s been seized by law enforcement. It has never studied cannabis products that can be legally sold to consumers through dispensaries.

Much like tobacco regulation, there is no plan for how this research would be carried out or how the program itself will work. The Senate committee is also concerned with the restrictions associated with cannabis’ current Schedule I status which limits the amount of research that can be done on it.

“At a time when we need as much information as possible about these drugs, we need to review lowering regulatory and other barriers to conducting this research,” the Committee wrote in its report. “The Committee directs NIDA to provide an update on the barriers to research that result from the classification of drugs and compounds as Schedule I substances.”

In what could be a glimmer of hope for broader acceptance of marijuana on a federal level, the senators’ report also included language that suggested cannabis could be part of a larger solution to the U.S.’s opioid problem.

“Scientific rationale and laboratory studies suggest a decrease in addictive potential when botanical derivatives, including cannabidiol extracts, are used with an opioid in treating patients. The Committee supports study of this integrative approach to treatment and urges [federal agencies] to support and facilitate trials aimed at reducing addiction under appropriate [Investigational New Drug] applications,” the Committee wrote in its report.

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