Source: National Cannabis Industry Association

By Brooke Gilbert | June 10, 2024

In the second episode of NCIA’s new multi-part #IndustryEssentials webinar series, titled “Advancing Cannabis Science: Research Opportunities and Safety Post-Rescheduling,” we delved into the significant changes and opportunities that would emerge following the rescheduling of cannabis to a Schedule III drug. Led by NCIA’s Scientific Advisory Committee, this session provided a comprehensive overview of the cannabis rescheduling impact on research and safety in the evolving cannabis landscape.

Setting the Stage | Panelist & Moderator Introductions

The session kicked off with a warm welcome from our host Brian Gilbert, NCIA’s Director of Engagement & Experience, who introduced the esteemed panelists, including moderator Cassin Coleman of Cassin Consulting (as well as Chair of NCIA’s Scientific Advisory Committee), and Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, MD (Vice Chair of NCIA-SAC) alongside Carly Bader, Manager of Science at Willow Industries, and Kenya Alexander of Green to Green Solutions (Chair of NCIA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee). Each panelist brought a wealth of experience and knowledge in cannabis science, setting the stage for a deep dive into the implications of cannabis rescheduling.

Where We Were and Where We’re Going: Controlled Substances Schedule Overview 

The discussion began with an overview of the Controlled Substances Act and the historical context of cannabis scheduling. The panelists highlighted the journey from Schedule I to Schedule III, emphasizing the critical changes that come with this shift, particularly in terms of research opportunities and regulatory frameworks.

How Does Rescheduling Actually Work? | 8 Factor Analysis for Schedule Change 

Cassin Coleman provided an in-depth explanation of the rescheduling process, focusing on the 8-factor analysis used to determine the appropriate schedule for a substance. This analysis includes factors such as the drug’s potential for abuse, scientific evidence of its pharmacological effects, and the current scientific knowledge regarding the substance.

What Could This Mean for Researchers Around the Country? | Requirements for Research 

The panelists explored the new landscape for researchers, discussing the relaxation of stringent requirements that previously hampered cannabis research. They highlighted the potential for increased federal funding, the ability to conduct more comprehensive studies, and the removal of barriers that have long impeded scientific progress in the field.

Preparing for New Opportunities in Research

The conversation shifted to the practical implications for researchers and industry professionals. The panelists shared insights on how to prepare for the new opportunities afforded by rescheduling, including advice on setting up compliant research protocols and leveraging the new regulatory environment to advance scientific inquiry and innovation.

Guiding Research and Ensuring Diversity 

Kenya Alexander and Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane emphasized the importance of ensuring diverse representation in cannabis research. She discussed strategies to include underrepresented communities in studies and the critical need for research that addresses the unique needs and experiences of these populations. This part of the discussion further underscored the cannabis rescheduling impact on research and safety.

Healing the Damage from the War on Drugs

The panel addressed the broader social implications of cannabis rescheduling, particularly the need to heal the damage caused by the War on Drugs. They discussed the importance of bridging the communication gap between researchers and communities and ensuring that the benefits of cannabis research are equitably distributed.

Audience Q&A

The session included a robust Q&A segment, where the panelists answered a wide range of questions from the audience:

Final Thoughts

In their closing remarks, the panelists reiterated the importance of embracing the new opportunities presented by cannabis rescheduling. They encouraged researchers, product developers, and industry stakeholders to stay informed and proactive in adapting to these changes.

Download the Slide Deck

For those interested in a deeper dive into the session’s content, we have made the slide deck available for download. Download the Slide Deck Here

Program Conclusion and Member Appreciation

The session concluded with a heartfelt thanks to all participants and a reminder of the value of NCIA membership. By supporting the organization, members help drive critical reforms and advancements in the cannabis industry, ensuring a brighter future for all stakeholders.

This episode of NCIA’s #IndustryEssentials webinar series provided essential insights into cannabis rescheduling impact on research and consumer safety. As we navigate these changes, NCIA remains committed to supporting our members and advocating for a more inclusive, equitable, and scientifically advanced industry. Stay tuned for future episodes and continue to engage with our expert-led discussions.

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