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Tag: research

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.”

Holy Smokes! DEA Wants to Triple Production of Government’s Marijuana Supply

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The normally anti-marijuana DEA officially recommended that the federal government triple its production of almost 900 pounds of pot for research in 2015.

The proposal, endorsed by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, is intended to provide a sufficient amount of marijuana to conduct research on the dangers and the medical benefits of cannabis, The Huffington Post reports.

The DEA has the authority to decide when to make marijuana available because it is currently illegal and officially considered by classification to be absent of medical benefits.

The request for increased production follows “unanticipated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States,” the DEA said in a notice published in the Federal Register.

Numerous studies around the world have shown medical benefits to marijauna.

DEA Increases Amount of Marijuana for Federal Government to Grow for Research

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government plans to significantly increase the amount of marijuana it manufactures for research.

The U.S. News reports that the DEA increased production from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds.

Before making the decision, the DEA sought public comment and received one remark in favor of the production increase.

“The DEA appreciates the support for this adjusted 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana which will provide for the estimated scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States,” a Tuesday notice in the Federal Register says.

The DEA didn’t approve enough marijuana for research last year, the U.S. News reported.

“Due to the manufacturing process unique to marijuana, including the length of time and conditions necessary to propagate and process the substance for distribution in 2014, it is necessary to adjust the initial, established 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana as soon as practicable,” the DEA said. “Accordingly, the administrator finds good cause to adjust the aggregate production quota for marijuana before accepting written comments from interested persons or holding a public hearing.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


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