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White House makes it easier to study marijuana

The White House is making it easier to study the medical effects of marijuana on the human body. It's removing one of the steps previously needed for scientists to begin their research.

As a result, new studies could offer more comprehensive data on the drug's medical uses and change the long-held negative perception of marijuana being considered a gateway drug to illegal drug use.

"The very strict control of the federal government has had on people who want to study marijuana is arguably something that has kept our knowledge of the drug's effects on humans and children very limited," said Scripps Washington, D.C. bureau reporter. "What researchers are hoping will happen with this new hurdle taken down is that it will allow scientists to jump start those studies, so we can get more information on how this drug effects humans and whether it can help those who are desperately in-need when no other drug has worked."

In addition, Congress is debating further studies on the medical benefits of marijuana and trying to support the accessibility of research.

"Marijuana is still considered a Schedule-1 drug," said Green. "That puts it right up there with cocaine and heroin.  It's considered a drug that has absolutely no medical properties. But, there are a group of senators who recently introduced a piece of legislation hoping to change that scheduling."

On Tuesday, the Journal of the American Medical Association published several of its findings on medical marijuana. It found the strongest results of marijuana use for chronic pain relief and muscle stiffness from multiple sclerosis. However, it found weak results for marijuana relieving anxiety and sleep disorder.