The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it will begin allowing the use of marijuana-based products in the future, as the drug is being explored as a treatment for chronic pain and other conditions.
Cannabis, which is not approved for medical use by the FDA, is the only plant on the market that is approved for treating chronic pain.
That approval has led to the development of various marijuana-infused products that are currently available on both the prescription and over-the-counter markets.
The FDA is still reviewing the results of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) marijuana study.
The FDA announced Wednesday that it will allow manufacturers to produce cannabis-infusion products that meet the same safety and efficacy standards as prescription opioids, including the ability to produce a high dosage of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Currently, marijuana-derived products can only be produced by a physician.
The agency said it would expand this program to allow non-physicians to use the same technology to create cannabis-based medical products.
The move follows a similar move by the European Union, which has permitted the use and sale of cannabis-derived medications in Europe.
However, it’s unclear whether the FDA will allow nonphysicians, such as pharmacists, to manufacture and distribute these products.
The agency did not say whether it plans to allow pharmacists to sell cannabis-containing products.