The Foundation’s director Amanda Feilding told IFLScience that she has “just been in Israel with the intention of collecting cannabis strains with specific qualities for treating different conditions, but it is impossible to send these strains to the UK.”
“It’s easier to send controlled compounds within the EU, although I’m not sure what difficulties will emerge after Brexit.”
In the US, no foreign marijuana can be imported, as the FDA is yet to approve the produce of any overseas growers.
Raphael Mechoulam (left) and Amanda Feilding (center) are among the world leaders on cannabis research. Image courtesy of Amanda Feilding
What Does The Future Hold?
MAPS is about to start a clinical trial using NIDA marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war veterans. At the moment, the study is at the Phase II stage, meaning it involves a relatively small number of patients, but Doblin insists that “Phase III research cannot and will not be done with NIDA marijuana.”
He estimates that it will take about three years to reach that stage, and says that one of two things needs to happen in the meantime if the project is to progress. “Either we’re going to get a license to grow, or the FDA will approve some foreign grower’s marijuana and we’ll be able to import that.”
Doblin also feels that a successful trial could really stir the pot within the Trump camp and pave the way for more cannabis studies in the US. “If we manage to get good results from this study with veterans – and America has a love affair with veterans – it will be very difficult, even for Trump and Sessions, to resist more research,” he says.
For now, though, it’s clear that the US remains a long way behind other nations when it comes to marijuana research, and despite the recent wave of decriminalization, much more needs to change before the country can catch up with Israel and become a joint leader.