A federal agency is asking the public to submit scientific data on the potential benefits of marijuana for people with acute pain and migraine headaches.
In two notices published in the Federal Register this month, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) said it is conducting a review of treatment approaches to the two health conditions, with a particular focus on alternatives to opioids. Both listings specifically include cannabis as an example of a therapy the government would like help investigating.
The agency, which is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, said it “is dedicated to identifying as many studies as possible that are relevant to the questions for each of its reviews.”
“In order to do so, we are supplementing the usual manual and electronic database searches of the literature by requesting information from the public (e.g., details of studies conducted).”
Of particular interest to the federal research agency are the “comparative effectiveness” and health risks of opioid treatment versus alternatives such as marijuana in the treatment of acute episodic migraines and acute pain.
AHRQ has made similar requests in the past, soliciting scientific information about the potential use of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain and Alzheimer’s disease, for example.
While scientists have made progress in researching various medical applications for cannabis, there’s widespread recognition that federal law is inhibiting research, as designating marijuana as a Schedule I drug makes the process of obtaining it for studies onerous. A congressional subcommittee discussed those limitations at a hearing last week.