Current Cannabinoid Regulatory Policy is Impeding Needed Research

In commentary appearing this month in Pain Medicine News, former American Academy of Pain Medicine president Lynn Webster, MD, makes the case for reclassifying cannabinoids to a Schedule II drug. The reason: much needed research into the efficacy of cannabinoids as pain therapy is being hampered by the current classification as a Schedule I substance. Because of this, Dr. Webster contends, “…a researcher must pass through a gauntlet of onerous and time-intensive requirements to gain access to cannabinoids.”

Pointing to the recently published review by the National Institutes of Health (Ann Intern Med published online Jan. 13, 2015), Dr. Webster highlights the conflicting data on the long-term effectiveness of opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain. Needed, he says, are “…scientific breakthroughs that lead to serious analgesic benefits without addictive properties or risk for respiratory depression.” Could cannabis hold the key to new analgesic pathways? Perhaps, but the current data is weak. Reclassifying cannabinoids to Schedule II could help expand research opportunities and determine appropriate indications.

Read Dr. Webster’s complete commentary here.


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