US lawmakers introduce bill for medicinal cannabis trials

21st January 2019 (Last Updated January 25th, 2019 05:49)

US Senators Jon Tester and Dan Sullivan have introduced a new bipartisan bill to initiate clinical trials assessing medicinal cannabis as a therapy for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in veterans.

US lawmakers introduce bill for medicinal cannabis trials
Study finds cannabis replacement therapy can be effective against addiction. Credit: 7raysmarketing from Pixabay.

The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act is intended to urge the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to investigate the potential benefits and effects of the cannabis.

Under the legislation, the Senators direct the VA on a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial to evaluate the medicinal cannabis’ effectiveness in mitigating symptoms of chronic pain and/or PTSD.

The trial will also be designed to study effects on mood, social functioning or other substance use.

It may additionally include assessment of the impact of the cannabis on pulmonary function, cardiovascular events, certain cancers, mania and cognitive effects, among others.

Tester said: “The VA needs to listen to the growing number of veterans who have already found success in medicinal cannabis in easing their pain and other symptoms.

“Our bill will make sure the VA takes proactive steps to explore medicinal cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for veterans suffering from injuries or illness received in the line of duty.”

The clinical trial is set to study a variety of cannabis types such as full plants and extracts, a minimum of three different strains and various delivery approaches.

Furthermore, the VA may choose to conduct a long-term observational study in individuals participating in the trial.

Tester and Sullivan along with Representatives Phil Roe and Tim Walz initially wrote to the US Department of Veterans Affairs in August last year, highlighting the need for a trial to understand medicinal cannabis use.