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As the House of Representatives votes today on federally legalizing cannabis, another governmental body has announced that it will host a conference on research into cannabis as a therapeutic treatment for cancer. 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a federal health agency, posted details of the event this week. The symposium is officially titled, “The National Cancer Institute Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Cancer Research Symposium,” and it will take place online from December 15 to the 18. The deadline to register is TODAY: Friday, December 4. So, yeah, hurry up if you wish to attend.

According to the NCI’s website, “This workshop will highlight the state of the science in cannabis, its chemical constituents (e.g., cannabinoids) and cancer research, including cancer epidemiology, use in cancer patients, cancer biology and prevention, pre-clinical and clinical cancer symptom and treatment side-effect management, as well as the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as cancer therapeutics.”

Among the topics scheduled for panel discussions are the “potential clinical implications of marijuana legalization efforts, risks and benefits of cannabis use for cancer patients, the function of the endocannabinoid system as it concerns cancer-related pain and how marijuana affects appetite, nausea, vomiting and neuropathic pain in patients.”

In addition, according to the NCI, “The workshop will also address current barriers to research and strategies to navigate these hurdles to ensure feasibility of rigorous studies designed to address gaps in knowledge as well as potential research opportunities in the area of cannabis cancer-related research.”

Scheduled guests include top-tier academic researchers and regulation experts from the National Institute Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This is the latest in a series of events the FDA has participated in regarding cannabis and a variety of other drugs, too. Back in January, the FDA okayed a cocaine nasal spray and granted early, albeit limited, approval to MDMA as medicine. Then, in April, the agency conceded that no evidence exists to link vaping to coronavirus risks. Come August, the FDA announced it would be hiring thousands of people to test out cannabis products. Finally, in November, the FDA Office of Women’s Health held a public symposium on CBD and gender.

Could these forward-thinking moves actually bode well for this country’s move toward sane drug policies? All we can do is get high and maybe feel cautiously hopeful.