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President Joe Biden will soon nominate a new commissioner for the FDA; this particular commissioner has been a long-running advocate for the healing properties of medical marijuana. So much so that he even has prescribed medicine that comes from the cannabis plant.
Back in 2016, Robert Califf began to shed light on the healing powers of marijuana at a research summit. Mr. Califf also suggested that the FDA is ready to conduct research and trials to explore the benefits that cannabis offers since numerous people have identified the possible uses of marijuana and related products.
He added that cannabis is often used to treat AIDS wasting, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, cancer, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. At the summit, Califf said that although the FDA hadn’t found evidence to prove that marijuana is “safe and effective for any indication,” this doesn’t mean there are no good uses for it, which have been highlighted in countless studies.
The FDA’s current position on cannabis is not because “we’ve had a ton of applications to look at, it’s because we haven’t gotten them into the pathway,” Califf said. This means that the FDA hasn’t seen any reliable evidence that proves marijuana and related products will effectively treat any disease or condition.
As of now, Califf hopes to change that. He told Entrepreneur that there need to be more studies that use marijuana and thoroughly examine the safety and effectiveness of the plant for medical use. Following this, these studies must be submitted to the FDA, and a marketing application for review “under the legal standard set out in the federal Drug and Cosmetic Act,” he said. This would ensure that the “drug product” meets the legal criteria for approval.
Finally, Califf said that the FDA is now heavily encouraging researchers to submit studies to put this into action. But, to do this, the FDA will need to facilitate the work of companies interested in delivering “safe, effective, and quality products to the market.” There’s some confusion with this statement because there are hundreds of companies already doing so, which makes us wonder why this hasn’t started earlier.
Califf concluded that the process to collaborate with other federal and state agencies, researchers, and manufacturers targeting issues surrounding cannabidiol and other marijuana compounds is the “best way to identify new treatments that are safe, beneficial, and effective for patients.” This would also help protect patients from using products that aren’t entirely safe.
The moment we have been waiting for.
A rundown on New Mexico's latest news on legal cannabis.