The FDA has a plan to tackle cannabis research this year

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The agency has a workaround it expects to help paint a clear picture of the benefits of cannabis

Cannabis has become a hot topic over the past couple of years and there is now more research being done than ever before. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) feels that there is still a lot of information missing as it tries to figure out how to regulate consumer cannabis sales, and has announced a workaround that it believes will help fill those gaps. Instead of relying on scientific research, which could have been a lot more robust if the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had been proactive in issuing research licenses, the FDA wants to use certain available information to help complete the puzzle.

An announcement by the FDA explains, “We see an important public health opportunity in using novel sources of data and rigorous analytical methods to build a more robust base of scientific evidence on the safety profile and use of CBD products. The FDA is uniquely situated to contribute its expertise in evaluating data from different sources to inform regulatory decision-making.”

To that end, the federal agency wants to improve its data collection this year and will follow several new protocols to make that happen. They want to improve the identification of CBD (cannabidiol) products, increase product sampling, create a register of CBD consumers and use market research data to determine which strategies are adequate for safety and monitoring.

The problem with the latter procedure is the source of the data will define its accuracy. However, the FDA is positive it can counter that issue through diligent oversight. It explains, “While the FDA appreciates the information and engagement from numerous stakeholders on CBD-related issues, many evidence gaps remain. Filling these gaps will not be a trivial exercise but will require high-quality data analyzed using robust methods. We believe there is an opportunity to develop better sources of [real-world data] to provide incremental improvements in our scientific understanding of the safety profile of CBD in the general population and, potentially, in specific populations.”