Updated on August 17, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged the government in 2018 to review marijuana’s classification. The surgeon believes that marijuana should be studied. The one barrier to rescheduling marijuana has been the lack of evidence-based research. Funding to acquire the research is difficult, as the Federal government does not approve grants for controlled substance clinical trials.
But that may be starting to change. In part, because of pressure from American states (34 in total at the time of writing) who have legalized medical marijuana. And because of the significant obstacles that marijuana businesses face in terms of legal financial services. Chartered banks will not accept funds or transactions related to cannabis, as it is a federally banned substance.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated, “ While I support local solutions to help solve our national public health challenges, they must be led by science. Currently, NIH funded research on marijuana is pressing forward. We are making progress in studying marijuana and its impact on the human brain, body, and behavior, as well as our communities. We should continue to seek ways to encourage and enable research to best inform policies regarding the potential medicinal properties of marijuana.”
Beneficial Research into Chemical Compounds
The cannabis plant is composed of hundreds of different chemical compounds. There is a lot to learn about cannabinoids, and there are more than 200 that have been identified with potential wellness properties.
Currently, there are discussions at Capitol Hill surrounding non-opioid pain relief options. Cannabinoids happen to be top of the list. Unlike the growing number of overdose fatalities annually in the United States from NSAIDs and opioid abuse, there has yet to be one case of a marijuana overdose. Where marijuana was a single substance of use.
The change that Surgeon General proposed could be significant for justice system reforms. It could also be an economic triumph for the U.S. States that are struggling with the increased cost of healthcare due to the Covid-19 emergency are benefiting from the tax revenue. In some states, that revenue has proven to be critical to regional economies.
Currently, the U.S. is falling behind when it comes to clinical studies, trials, and research into the medicinal benefits of medical cannabis. Other countries like China and Israel have made significant milestones in medical innovations and research. G7 countries such as Canada are raking in billions of dollars after legalizing cannabis. After Canada’s legalization, its markets have grown in cannabis startups, IPOs, and American Cannabis Companies wanting part of the action. Canadian cannabis cultivators and manufacturers have also been aggressively entering the American medical marijuana marketplace.
According to Dr. Mark Rosenfeld, ANANDA Scientific CEO, the Surgeon General’s call to reschedule cannabis is encouraging. He further adds, “The chemistry found only in cannabis plants can provide relief across an incredible array of adverse health states. It does this with minimal side effects and with the prospect of being cost-effective in its use.”
Draconian And Antiquated Anti-Cannabis Laws
The medicinal use of cannabis today began back in the 1960s. Israeli scientists began researching its unique chemistry. With their government’s support, doctors in Israel comfortably recommend its use as an effective pharmaceutical alternative.
The story is different in the United States. The U.S. has, unfortunately, remained stagnant in medical marijuana research. Its draconian and antiquated anti-cannabis laws hinder it. The “War on Drugs” and stigmatization of cannabis has limited therapeutic options for patients for decades.
Some states have managed to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. These states have achieved that through the legislative process. Bowing to the increasing pressure from patients with chronic or rare diseases, or debilitating health conditions. Patients who wanted (and still want) a more natural and safe alternative to opioid medications.
The Billion Dollar Legalized Industry and Economic Boost of the U.S. Cannabis Sector
According to The National Cannabis Economy report, this year alone, more than $11 billion will be earned from the cannabis industry. Sales might reach 23 billion by 2022 because of job creation, tax revenue, and better patient care.
More influential people are coming out to support cannabis reclassification. According to Garyn Angel, CEO of MagicalButter.com, reclassifying cannabis in the United States would capture millions in tax revenue, boost the economy, and encourage funding of scientific innovation. Mainstream celebrities have also invested in their own cannabis businesses, which has helped to transition public opinion about medical marijuana in a positive way.
Countries like China and Israel have funds for cannabis research and have seen significant innovations. These innovations could impact the global market for pain relief, especially for the aging population globally. These countries have also experienced medical breakthroughs for rare and chronic illnesses. Providing effective pain relief with medical cannabis may be the solution to the opioid epidemic.