Could AOC Amendment Clear the Way for Medical Cannabis Study?

Medical Cannabis—specifically the government roadblocks to studying it and other Schedule 1 drugs that may have medical application—may have found a new friend. As Tom Angell wrote in Forbes, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) filed legislation on Friday to remove a legal barrier that scientists say makes it unnecessarily difficult for them to study the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin (mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy). Cannabis, psilocybin and MDMA are all Schedule 1 Drugs and have showed promise in helping with chronic pain, end of life therapy and treating PTSD, according to the Congresswoman.

She tweeted: “It’s well past time we take drug use out of criminal consideration + into medical consideration that begins with research. I’m proud to introduce an amendment that helps scientists do their jobs.”

The government’s virtual ban on this research has been codified since at least 1996 in various forms of legislation that funds the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Labor. The government ban is tied to “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I” of the Controlled Substances Act. The National Pain Report has long reported on this issue—where federal government regulation has stunted any serious research into the real palliative effect that medical cannabis provides chronic pain patients.

Knock one back. A glass of red wine a day is good for you. A number of studies have found this, but a recent one found that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. It’s thought that the antioxidants help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.

This development comes in the wake of an interesting story last week about cannabis use in U.S. adults over age 65 which has seen a tenfold increase from 2007 to 2017. That’s according to a study from the University of Colorado.

Many older adults are turning to cannabis to treat health issues and not surprisingly, older adults have reported barriers to getting medical marijuana.

They also vote.

Political support for marijuana has been growing rapidly. The District of Columbia and 11 states—most recently Illinois—have gone as far approving recreational marijuana. 33 states approve cannabis for medical use in some form.
And yet the federal government has been loath to change. What happens with Ocasio-Cortez’ amendment will be interesting given the way the political winds are blowing—toward legalization– while Congress and the Trump Administration dither.

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