Why the Removal of the PHS Review Matters

The world of science and research has been given further access to study the medicinal benefits of marijuana.  The White House removed the Public Health Service Review which significantly slowed the progression of marijuana research in the past. By removing the PHS review, researchers are given more access to plants, increased federal funding, and the opportunity to unlock the seemingly endless benefits of medical marijuana.

The move comes as a surprise to many, particularly marijuana researchers. For years, marijuana advocates have pushed to remove the PHS review because it presented strict requirements for regulating the distribution of marijuana to research facilities. The Clinton administration put the PHS review in place to promote marijuana research, but the restrictions made it nearly impossible for private research groups to gain access to marijuana, inhibiting such facilities to grow their own samples.

Americans for Safe Access, a group that strongly advocates for access to pot for medical research, feels the move is the initial point for federal legalization. According to spokesperson Christopher Brown, “you have a lot of interest in experimental research on medical cannabis and this shows that you are starting to see policies aligned with that.”

Marijuana advocates are also pushing government legislators to end the NIDA’s monopoly on marijuana research. On Thursday, the Senate will hold a hearing on medical marijuana. It’s expected that the decisions made on Thursday will help to end the DEA and NIDA/PHS stronghold on marijuana research. The policy set up a government monopoly on the amount of marijuana available for research. Recent moves by the government suggest that marijuana reform is becoming heavily favored for its financial returns and as a way to counter illegal drug trade.   Earlier this month, the DEA was removed power to raid and prosecute compliant commercial growers and dispensaries where marijuana is legal. Legislation was also approved for the production of 400,000 grams of marijuana plants.

2015 thus far has been a favorable year for marijuana reform.  The abundance of information has come from limited research, but it’s all positive and undeniable. Marijuana research will become a global focal point within the next five years because all the information says that it heals; we just don’t know how far its capabilities can reach.  The removal of the PHC review is a giant step for the medical industry, a decision that will see billions of investment dollars from private lenders who believe in the power of medical marijuana. The research that will drive the marijuana industry into the future is about to launch. Up until now, marijuana researchers such as such as Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Jonathan Page were able to produce miracles out of nothing, opening the door for others who want to build on their work. More research facilities will play a role in marijuana research, improving the odds of breakthrough discoveries with an abundance of tools, workers and lab equipment that was desperatley needed in the past.

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