Biden FDA Nominee Has Positive Views on Medical Cannabis

Dr. Robert Califf, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Food and Drug Administration, has prescribed cannabinoid therapy as a cardiac doctor and actively encourages research into cannabinoid medicine.

Full story after the jump.

President Joe Biden’s (D) pick for the new head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed positive views toward medical cannabis in the past and has prescribed cannabinoid therapy as a cardiac doctor, Marijuana Moment reports. Dr. Robert Califf previously served as FDA director from February to January 2017 under the Obama administration, for which Biden was vice president.

During remarks at a federally hosted cannabis research summit in 2016, Califf said the FDA was interested in promoting more cannabis research and development.

“We understand that people have identified a number of possible uses of marijuana and marijuana-derived products. For example, AIDS wasting, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, cancer and chemotherapy-induced nausea. I had the chance to prescribe some of this in my cardiology practice in people with extreme heart failure who get a wasting cachectic syndrome.” Califf via Marijuana Moment

During his speech, Califf added that although cannabis has not been proven “safe and effective for any indication” it may still have potential as a medicine given more studies into the plant and its compound.

Califf added the FDA has not approved cannabis as medicine “not because [they’ve] had a ton of applications to look at” but because the agency “hasn’t gotten them into the pathway.”

“What this means is that no one has demonstrated to FDA that any such product is safe or effective for the treatment of any disease or condition,” he said at the 2016 summit. “To change that we need studies conducted using marijuana to rigorously assess the safety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical use.”

The doctor indicated that the FDA really wants studies into the efficacy of medical cannabis and “actively” encourages such research.

“To do this, we know we need to facilitate the work of companies interested in appropriately bringing safe, effective, and quality products to market, including scientifically based research concerning these medicinal uses,” he said.

If appointed as FDA head, Califf will have a number of cannabis-related issues to tackle, including regulations allowing marketing CBD as a food or dietary supplement, and the ongoing hemp-derived delta-8 crisis that is befuddling state and local officials around the country, the Moment notes.

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