Explainers Harm Reduction

How a Drug’s Schedule I Status Restricts Research


Stacey McKenna
Resident Senior Fellow, Integrated Harm Reduction
Chelsea Boyd
Resident Research Fellow, Harm Reduction

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From laboratory studies to randomized controlled trials, drug research is essential to elucidate the potential effects—both therapeutic and harmful—of known and novel substances. However, scientists report barriers when it comes to studying a particular class of drugs: those that are classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In fact, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, explained in an interview with Marijuana Moment that the multilevel, highly bureaucratic process “detracts [from] researchers who want to investigate because it’s just much more cumbersome than doing studies with other substances.”

Read the full explainer here.

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