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Tag: research

DEA Gets Serious about Studying Marijuana for Its Medical Values While Crack Down on Opioids

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The DEA is proposing to increase the amount of marijuana that can be legally grown for research by 30% in 2020, a promising sign for cannabis advocates who have long insisted the plant has healing properties.

Under the plans unveiled Wednesday, the DEA has called for 3.2 million grams of cannabis to be manufactured for scientific studies to determine the medical value of marijuana

“This will meet the need created by the increase in the amount of approved research involving marijuana,” DEA said in a press release. “Over the last two years, the total number of individuals registered by DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, derivatives and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has increased by more than 40 percent, from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019.”

The DEA also is proposing to reduce the amount of Schedule II opioids that can be manufactured in the U.S. next year. The DEA wants to reduce the amount by 31 percent, hydrocodone by 19 percent, hydromorphone by 25 percent, oxycodone by nine percent and oxymorphone by 55 percent.

“The aggregate production quota set by DEA each calendar year ensures that patients have the medicines they need while also reducing excess production of controlled prescription drugs that can be diverted and misused,” Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a statement. “DEA takes seriously its obligations to both protect the public from illicit drug trafficking and ensure adequate supplies to meet the legitimate needs of patients and researchers for these substances.”

For decades, marijuana has been illegal because it was listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means researchers believe it has no medical value. More substantial research could change that.

Numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, despite a federal law making it illegal.

DEA Inches Closer to Opening Up More Marijuana Research

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s hesitance to allow for more serious research into marijuana may finally be coming to an end.

The agency announced this week that it’s going to enable more researchers to grow cannabis for studies. For decades, the only entity allowed to research marijuana was the University of Mississippi.

The move could make it easier to legalize marijuana – a step that many states have taken over the past five years.

Marijuana has been illegal on the federal level because it has been labeled a schedule 1 drug, which means it has no medicinal value.

“The main thing that it will likely do is precipitate broader changes in federal policy in marijuana, which will have immense knock-on effects for the industry,” said David Abernathy, vice president of government affairs at the Arcview Group, which markets marijuana research, CNN reports.

Washington Post: More Research Needed to Reclassify Marijuana

marijuana-istockBy Editorial Board
Washington Post

The Drug Enforcement Administration made headlines last week for sticking to the status quo: The agency declined to change marijuana’s classification under the Controlled Substances Act to a lower, less strictly regulated schedule.

Marijuana sits alongside heroin and LSD in the DEA’s Schedule I category, reserved for the most dangerous substances. Schedule II drugs include narcotics such as methadone and oxycodone that are medically useful but have a high potential for harm. Advocates say the current classification of marijuana makes little sense: They cite studies that show pot can help patients manage pain without any serious risk of abuse. The only problem? The Food and Drug Administration has done studies of its own, and its experts do not agree.

There’s one way to resolve the debate: more research. Until there is substantial evidence that marijuana does more to help than to hurt, the DEA is right not to reschedule the drug. The agency took a step in the right direction by allowing more places to grow marijuana for research on how the drug could treat chronic pain and diseases such as epilepsy.

But even with the rule change, most scientists who want to learn more about marijuana’s effects will find themselves hamstrung. Schedule I drugs are not supposed to have medical benefits, so the rules governing them do not easily allow for clinical trials. That means researchers and the DEA are stuck: The DEA can’t reclassify marijuana unless research proves its effectiveness, but scientists have a hard time doing research unless the DEA reclassifies marijuana.

DEA’s Catch-22 on Marijuana Makes Reclassification Nearly Impossible

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Editorial Board
The Register Guard

The Drug Enforcement Agency has rejected petitions to remove marijuana from its list of Schedule 1 drugs — those with a high potential for abuse, and lacking any recognized medical uses. It’s laughable — and, for those whose lives have been ruined by a small-time marijuana arrest, tragic — that pot should remain in the same category as heroin and LSD. But simultaneously with the DEA’s announcement, the Obama administration said last week it would lift roadblocks to research that could lead to a more rational approach toward marijuana.

The DEA based its decision on the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not determined that marijuana is “a safe and effective medicine.” One reason the FDA had made no such determination is that the Schedule 1 classification stands in the way of marijuana research. It’s a Catch 22: Marijuana’s status as a drug with no beneficial uses blocks study of uses that might be beneficial.

The Obama administration’s new policy will lift one of the primary barriers to research. Currently, the FDA recognizes only federally approved research studies, and those must obtain marijuana from a federally approved source. Only one such source exists: The University of Mississippi is the sole supplier of marijuana for medical studies. Obtaining marijuana from that source can take years, applications are often denied, and some types of marijuana — including those with high concentrations of one of the drug’s active compounds, THC — are not available. The Obama administration will increase the number of research universities licensed to supply marijuana by a yet-unspecified number.

To read more click here. 

DEA Says Decision on Reclassification of Marijuana Could Be Soon

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA may be close to reaching a decision on rescheduling marijuana to recognize the medical benefits.

The DEA spokesman Russ Baer said no determination has been made yet on rescheduling pot, but the process is in the “final stages” of an eight-factor evaluating process, High Times reports. 

“I can’t give you a time frame as to when we may announce a decision,” Baer said. “We’re closer than we were a month ago. It’s a very deliberate process.”

High Times wrote:

All of the wild-eyed hope for a marijuana reschedule really heated up this year when the DEA fired off a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren in April, suggesting that the agency’s plan was to make a rescheduling announcement “in the first half of 2016.” Of course, confusion surrounding the implications of the DEA’s agenda quickly produced a number of ridiculous reports implying that marijuana was soon to be made legal in every state across the nation. This is far from true.

As it stands, marijuana is classified a Schedule I, dangerous drug under the confines of the Controlled Substances Act. In the eyes of the federal government, this means that anything derived from the cannabis plant has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. But a schedule downgrade would make some modest changes to Uncle Sam’s hammer-fisted attitude toward the herb—opening up the plant to be considered as having some worth in the scope of modern medicine.

FBI Developing Database to Track, Sort People Base on Their Tattoos

TattooBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is working on technology that would allow law enforcement to track and sort people based on their tattoos.

Gizmodo reports the database would help determine “affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology.”

The system would be based on an algorithms and big datasets.

The technology would “map connections between people with similarly themed tattoos or make inferences about people from their tattoos,” according to a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Experts: DEA Unlikely to Re-Classify Marijuana Despite Public Pressure to Do So

MarijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA pledged in April it would review marijuana’s classification so that it could be researched for possible medicinal benefits.

But don’t expect the DEA to change the current classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means it is in the “most dangerous class” of substances.

Business Insider interviewed drug-policy experts who believe the DEA won’t make the change despite a monumental shift in the public’s attitude about marijuana, which has been legalized in many states for medicinal purposes.

“DEA will carry out its assessment of the FDA recommendation in accordance with the [Controlled Substances Act] … and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” the DEA said in a letter to a group of Democratic senators, first obtained by The Huffington Post.

By changing the classification, it would clear the way for legalizing marijuana more broadly.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Warns Universities to Protect Research from Espionage

Genetic research at the laboratoryBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Universities are the hub of innovative research, and the FBI warns, a target for foreign spies.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the FBI has notified universities to be on the look out espionage.

“Some of the greatest threats to academia in the Houston area are the insider threat, theft of trade secrets and economic espionage,” said Maryjo Thomas, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston Division

Thomas delivered the warning to more than 100 academic and technology leaders at the FBI’s Houston headquarters.

“It is an initiative whose time has certainly come,” said Mauro Ferrari, president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. “Many people in the world would like to have free access to things developed in the United States.”