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U.S. Approves Marijuana Import from Canada for Health Study

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By Gene Johnson & Julie Watson, Associated Press

(AP) — In a rare move, the U.S. government has approved the importation of marijuana extracts from Canada for a clinical trial, highlighting a new avenue for American researchers who have long had trouble obtaining the drug for medical studies.

The University of California San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research announced Tuesday the Drug Enforcement Administration has OK’d its plans to import capsules containing two key cannabis compounds — CBD and THC — from British Columbia-based Tilray to study their effectiveness in treating tremors that afflict millions of people, especially those over 65.

“Essential tremor is 10 times more common than Parkinson’s and yet nobody really knows about essential tremor,” said Dr. Fatta Nahab, a UCSD neurologist and the tremor study’s principal investigator. “That we’re finally getting to a potential therapeutic option in an area that is untapped is a big deal.”

The study’s FDA application outlined the drug formula — a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC, to minimize any high study participants might feel — as well as its purity, toxicity, shelf life and other details. Researchers also had to get safety approvals from the university and present their plans to a California research advisory panel.

AP Photo/Don Ryan

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