The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has started taking control of the medical research for marijuana and is focusing more on marijuana use patterns rather than its potential benefits, Businessweek reports. NIDA currently serves as the gatekeeper for marijuana’s medical research. NIDA also provides oversight for the farms that grow the plants that can be used in clinical trials. However, advocates say that NIDA’s control over which plants can be used effectively makes it impossible to test the benefits of marijuana on ailments such as cancer-related nausea or epilepsy. Many believe that the supply should not be controlled entirely by one organization.
MPP’s director of federal policies, Dan Riffle, weighed in on this issue. He claimed that the federal researchers aren’t “set up to study potential medical benefits, so it’s inappropriate for NIDA to have a monopoly on supply.” MPP and other marijuana advocates are pushing for the DEA to grant additional growing permits so that marijuana can be researched in conjunction with other diseases. This is partly because of organizations, like the Epilepsy Foundation, that want end restrictions on research for marijuana’s effect on alleviating seizures. With NIDA controlling the supply, there is not enough marijuana to test all of its medical benefits.