The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), named after the actor who has Parkinson’s disease, reiterated its support for increased access to medical cannabis for research purposes.
The foundation is also promoting three specific cannabis reform bills that would eliminate barriers to research.
“Removing barriers for medical cannabis is one way in which Congress can help scientific researchers determine what the benefits of medical cannabis might be for Parkinson’s disease,” said Ted Thompson, senior vice president of public policy for MJFF.
The MJFF is seeking to convince Congress to reschedule cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which would lift a major obstacle blocking research that has already shown that marijuana likely possesses therapeutic benefits for treating Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
“Our role on the public policy team is to work with Congress and the administration to ensure there is access and funding for research and care initiatives that can benefit people living with Parkinson’s and, right now, that includes access to medical cannabis for research,” Thompson said.
According to the MJFF website, the foundation’s public policy team is tracking the following bills and intends to inform members of Congress and their staff as to why the bills matter to the Parkinson’s community:
H.R. 601: The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019, which calls for the elimination of barriers to conduct more research.
H.R. 712 / S. 179: The VA Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019 calls for more research to be conducted to ease the burden of VA-covered veterans with pain.
H.R. 4322 / S. 2400: Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act. This bill reclassifies cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance and calls for more sites to grow research cannabis.
In a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is the Senate sponsor of the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act, the MJFF noted that marijuana’s current classification under federal law and the inadequate quality of cannabis grown at the only federally authorized manufacturing facility has meant that “researchers do not have the proper materials to conduct the necessary research.”
The MJFF worked with the Parkinson’s Foundation to submit letters of support for this bill.
Letters of support can still be submitted here.
The foundation has also submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration arguing in favor of rescheduling marijuana in 2018 and 2019.
Increasing access to cannabis in the United States and around the world has prompted more scientific research that could unlock new treatments and therapies into a wide range of diseases.
A pioneering clinical trial to test the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on Parkinson’s sufferers has recently gotten underway in the United Kingdom where researchers are hopeful it can provide relief from the disease’s symptoms.
To see Michael J. Fox talk about his journey with cannabis and Parkinson’s disease, check out this YouTube video.