American Pain Society Supports Passage of Marijuana Effective Studies Act

Newswise — CHICAGO, Sept.18, 2017 – A bipartisan group of senators led by Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has reintroduced the Marijuana Effective Studies Act of 2016 (MEDS Act), which will remove excessive regulatory barriers inhibiting researchers from obtaining marijuana plants to conduct studies assessing the drug’s medical effectiveness and safety.   The American Pain Society ( said today it strongly supports the legislation and a companion measure introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in July.

“Too many regulatory barriers prevent legitimate and responsible scientific research on the potential benefits and risk of medical cannabis, and countless individuals with chronic pain are using marijuana without professional guidance based on reliable studies,” said APS President David Williams, PhD.  “Passage of The MEDS Act will give scientists more opportunities to study the safety and clinical efficacy of medical cannabis.   Many pain clinicians and researchers agree that cannabinoids are clinically promising chemical compounds, but there is a critical need for robust research on herbal cannabis to identify targets for medical development.”

Marijuana often is used to self-treat chronic pain and 25 states have legalized medical use of the herb.  In June 2016, the APS published guidance in The Journal of Pain for physicians caring for patients who use cannabis.  The paper identified opportunities for future research that is required to better understand the health effects of cannabinoids and noted that research on the cultivation of cannabis also is needed.  Expanded medical use will require high-quality medicinal grade cannabis with strict quality control and known constituents.  

“Enactment of the MEDS Act could lead to increased funding for pain-related cannabis research and broaden studies on various pain conditions to include cannabis,” said Williams.  “Public and private pain research funding is a major priority identified in the National Pain Strategy, and passage of the MEDS Act is essential to ease regulatory restrictions that impede approvals of cannabinoid research and access to high-quality plant cannabis for research studies,” said Williams.

About the American Pain Society

Based in Chicago, the American Pain Society (APS) is a multidisciplinary community that brings together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering.  APS is the professional home for investigators involved in all aspects of pain research including basic, translational, clinical and health services research to obtain the support and inspiration they need to flourish professionally.  APS strongly advocates expansion of high quality pain research to help advance science to achieve effective and responsible pain relief.  For more information on APS, visit