from the good-luck! dept.
UC San Diego will try to alleviate severe autism in children by giving them a non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, a project funded by the biggest private donation ever made in the U.S. for such research.
The $4.7 million study involves the controversial compound cannabidiol, or CBD, which is widely marketed nationwide as something of a miracle drug, capable of treating everything from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder.
[...] UC San Diego dealt with the issue by asking the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation of Lindon, Utah, for $4.7 million to study whether CBD can ease the most severe symptoms of autism, including seizures, self-injuring behavior, and crippling anxiety. The foundation agreed, and it is urging the federal government to remove marijuana from its list of Schedule 1 drugs so that cannabis can be widely studied.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has come out in support of federal cannabis decriminalization, just in time for 4/20:
The Minority Leader of the Senate is making it official the day before 4/20: He's down with legal weed. In an exclusive interview with VICE News, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed he is putting his name on legislation that he said is aimed at "decriminalizing" marijuana at the federal level. For Schumer, this is a shift. While he has backed medical marijuana and the rights of states to experiment with legal sales of pot, what he is proposing is a seismic shift in federal drug policy.
"Ultimately, it's the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn't hurt anybody else, why shouldn't we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?" Schumer said.
The legislation should be available within a week or so, and would remove cannabis (still listed as "Marihuana") from the Drug Enforcement Administration's list of Schedule I substances. States would then be free to regulate or continue to prohibit the plant. Cannabis advertising would be regulated as are alcohol and tobacco advertising. (Also at NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, and CNBC, as well as Reason taking a shot at Schumer for not doing it sooner.)
A majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis, including, for the first time, a majority (51%) of Republicans, according to Gallup. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use. 29 states, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico have legalized medical use of cannabis, and another 17 states have legalized the use of cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis became available for recreational purposes in California on January 1.
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the country's first drug derived from marijuana, a medication that treats two rare and devastating forms of epilepsy.
The drug, GW Pharmaceuticals' Epidiolex, is made of cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of marijuana that does not give users a high. It is given as an oil, and in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40 percent in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.
"This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. "And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development."
The FDA's decision was expected. FDA officials had indicated they supported approving Epidiolex, and an advisory panel had unanimously recommended it get the green light. There was some concern about the drug's effects on the liver, but experts have said this risk could be addressed by doctors as they monitor their patients during treatment.
Before GW can market Epidiolex, though, the Drug Enforcement Administration will have to reclassify CBD, which in this case, because it comes from marijuana, is considered a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medical value and a high risk of abuse. The agency is expected to do so within 90 days.
Also at TechCrunch.
Related: FDA Cracking Down on Unsubstantiated Cannabidiol Health Claims
World Health Organization Clashes With DEA on CBD; CBD May be an Effective Treatment for Psychosis
UC San Diego to Treat Autism Using Cannabidiol