S 2400 promotes cannabis research through various institutional avenues. It aims to amend the Public Health Service Act by instructing the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop a national cannabis research agenda to help address key questions and gaps in evidence.
The following are some of the research topics that would be addressed:
- Cannabis’s therapeutic effects for certain diseases and conditions;
- Cannabis’s effects on at-risk populations, such as pregnant women, children, and the elderly;
- The long-term effects of cannabis use and how it affects behavioral health;
- The clinically appropriate modes of cannabis delivery; and
- Public safety considerations, such as youth access to cannabis, impaired driving, and accidental ingestion of cannabis.
S 2400 also aims to amend the Public Health Service Act by instructing the CDC, the SAMHSA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to collect population-wide data on cannabis use. The bill emphasizes, however, that any data collected shall be collected in a manner that protects privacy in accordance with state and federal law.
Additionally, the bill proposes that cannabis’s scheduling status as a Schedule I substance should be changed to that of a Schedule III substance.
Finally, S 2400 aims to further amend the Public Health Service Act by instructing the NIH to designate approved colleges and universities as Centers of Excellence in Cannabis Research for the purpose of interdisciplinary research on cannabis and related social issues. In order to become a Center of Excellence in Cannabis Research, an institution of higher education will have to go through lengthy and rigorous application and registration processes. For example, at least one individual employed by the applying institution must be registered under the Controlled Substances Act to conduct research with controlled substance and the application must contain a detailed five-year plan for cannabis research. Additionally, the bill imposes many restrictions on the ways in which institutions of higher education may and may not acquire cannabis for research purposes. For instance, an institution may cultivate its own cannabis for research purposes contingent upon the Department of Justice’s determination that the cannabis is for legitimate scientific research and that proper measures against diversion are being implemented.