Breakthroughs for Cannabis Research

On July 17, a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019, legislation designed to address major barriers faced by researchers who wish to study cannabis. The bill would make it much, much easier for scientists to gain approval to study marijuana’s potential benefits, and it would make it more possible for approved researchers to get the cannabis they need for their studies—on things like using cannabis instead of opioids for pain.

“As a physician who has conducted NIH-sponsored research, I cannot stress enough how critical this legislation is to the scientific community. Our drug policy was never intended to act as an impediment to conducting legitimate medical research. This legislation will facilitate that research by removing the unnecessary administrative barriers that deter qualified researchers from thoroughly studying medical marijuana,” said Dr. Andy Harris (R-MD), an anesthesiologist and co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill would also allow for the private manufacturing and distribution of cannabis for research purposes. Currently, the only marijuana available for research legally comes from a single, exclusive contract the National Institute on Drug Abuse has held with the University of Mississippi since 1968.

“There is evidence of marijuana’s potential medicinal benefits in treating conditions including cancer, epilepsy, and glaucoma,” said Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), another co-sponsor.” In order to move forward in evaluating the medicinal value of medical marijuana and determining its accompanying side effects, it is critical that we remove barriers to research. The Medical Marijuana Research Act constitutes common sense legislation that could open the door to treatment that can substantially improve the quality of patient care.”

Clearly, the demand is vast. At the University of Mississippi cultivation fields, the U.S. government is currently growing the largest crop of research marijuana in five years, in total more than 4,400 pounds, divided between high THC and high CBD varieties.

Late last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a different bill to increase CBD and marijuana research with the support of the American Medical Association. “The AMA strongly supports the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act to enable legitimate research evaluating the potential efficacy and safety of medicines derived from cannabis,” said American Medical Association (AMA) President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A.

The growing global interest in cannabis research led Manhattan-based investor Bob Broderick to make what is believed to be the largest private gift so far to support scientific research on cannabis. He announced in April he will donate $9 million to support research at Harvard and MIT exploring cannabis and its effects on the brain. There’s a lot to learn. We know incredibly little about the cannabis compounds called cannabinoids, says Harvard Medical School professor of neurobiology Bruce Bean. “Two of them have been studied in some detail—THC and CBD. Even for those, I have to say our knowledge is very, very sparse in terms of how they actually have their effects on the brain.”

At 1906, we’ve received so many testimonials from satisfied customers who say our products help them feel and live better, so we’re aiming to do some research of our own. We have plans to conduct a clinical study on our 1906 Midnight product with the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) to assess how Midnight works as a sleep aid in a population of adults. More details to come!