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U.S. Medical Marijuana Researcher Says Current Federal Classification “Not Tenable”

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feds raid dispensaryDirector Of Cannabis Research Center Says Classification And Political Controversy Are “Obstacles To Medical Progress”

Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), and two other investigators published a study in the most recent issue of The Open Neurology Journal, which concluded that the Schedule I classification of marijuana is “not tenable.” The study further concluded that, “it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.” The study urges additional research, but states that marijuana’s federal classification and its political controversy are “obstacles to medical progress in this area.” The federal classification of marijuana is based on the government’s position that it has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

CMCR, based at the University of California San Diego, has overseen some of the most extensive research on the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana in the U.S. The research center pointed out that, “Control of nausea and vomiting and the promotion of weight gain in chronic inanition are already licensed uses of oral THC (dronabinol capsules),” and that recent research indicates “cannabis may also be effective in the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy and muscle spasticity from conditions such as multiple sclerosis.” The CMCR was established by the California legislature in 1999 and initially funded with a $1 million grant.

“Patient advocates applaud these findings from the country’s top medical marijuana researchers,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the leading medical marijuana advocacy group in the U.S. “With the backing of such strongly worded recommendations, patients remain hopeful that the federal government will recognize the science and reclassify marijuana.” However, discontent with simply waiting, ASA and other advocates filed a lawsuit earlier this year that is currently pending before the D.C. Circuit. The suit challenges a July 2011 denial by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of a 9-year-old petition to reschedule marijuana. That appeal will likely be heard by the D.C Circuit sometime this fall.

Over the past decade, the CMCR has completed 13 studies on medical marijuana, making it the foremost research center in the country. Unlike other marijuana studies, which all require the approval of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the CMCR conducts research on smoked and vaporized marijuana in particular. Through its research, the CMCR has found that smoked and vaporized medical marijuana can be beneficial to people living with cancer and HIV, as well as chronic pain due to a variety of health conditions. These studies have been peer-reviewed and published, but the federal government continues to ignore their findings.

Although the recent Open Neurology study admits that cannabis has “some abuse potential,” the study also says its profile “more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed).” The study goes on to say that any adverse effects are generally “dose-related,” are of “mild to moderate severity,” and “appear to decline over time.” Unlike other pharmaceutical medication, no reports of fatal overdoses from medical marijuana have been reported, researchers said. Ironically, the study comes only two weeks after DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart testified before a House oversight hearing and argued that there was no difference between harm from marijuana and harm from other Schedule I substances like heroin and methamphetamine.

In addition to the lawsuit against the Obama Administration challenging the classification of marijuana, there is a bill pending in Congress, HR 1983, which also calls for rescheduling. Frustrated by the federal government’s position, the governors of four states (Colorado, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) similarly petitioned the Obama Administration in late 2011 to reschedule marijuana for medical use.

Further information:
Medical marijuana study in The Open Neurology Journal: http://www.benthamscience.com/open/toneuj/articles/V006/18TONEUJ.pdf
UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research: http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu
Pending ASA lawsuit appeal on rescheduling: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/CRC_Appeal.pdf

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With over 50,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.

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6 Comments

  1. This subject angers me! I have never in my life heard of a person killing theirself or others in car accidents the way alcolhol does. Yet, the federal government has criminalized marajuana, as if it is just as bad as; cocaine, meth, heroin, alcohol, any narcodic drug from the pharmacy. These drugs can kill any person if taken in extremes.
    Those of you who have never smoked marajuana because of the way the government has labled, criminalized, and mis-informed the people on the effects of marajuana, need to wake up to what a mess our government really is and open your close headed mind and vote YES!!! Do some research on the benifits of medical marajuana!!!
    We need to make marajuana legal and get rid of all the drugs and alcohol that is killing so many!!! Plus, pull ourselves out of debt!!

  2. schedule 1 the same as heroin that is rediculous when vicodin which does kill and is physicaly addicting i know personaly my dr who is the director of the merthadone by the way only a schedule 2 narcotic and suboxone only a schedule 3 clinics in my town says that opiates are the only drug he has seen in his field for 40 years that has the potential for abuse in patients who have no previous history of addiction or alcoholism yet most opiate/opioids are at the most schedule 2 other than heroin which is a schedule 1 now come on if we are talking abuse potential look at opiates and dont get me wrong they have there plaqce but how many things like chronic migranes and mucle/nerve pain which was my problem both of those and could have been treated with marijuana which i would not have become physicaly dependant on and now that i am in a meyhadone clinic it would be impossible for me to get on it even though i am currently suffering from loss of appetite and weight loss of 23 pounds which was an approved reason for medical marijuana js they need to change this and make it available to peope who need it instead of getting them hooked on drugs with real abuse potential that are physicaly addicting.

  3. The government claims no medical value, yet at the height of the federal government’s Compassionate Investigational New Drug program there were 30 people supplied with medical cannabis, by a government that now claims it has no medical use… How is that for hypocrisy!?!

  4. and that’s just the tip of the benefit’s this plant can. I suffer daily with pain from severe Rheumatoid Disease that also affects my organs. Obama never planed on decriminalizing it. It was a lie. He has authorized the feds to crack down hard on the State legal dispensaries in California. Hundreds have arrested and several have had to shut down…

  5. I have feelings of outrage when I read how our country’s leaders have suppressed the use of a plant that has a variety of proven uses to treat a variety of serious illnesses and ailments, because of the ignorance of political leaders in the ’70s, 4 decades ago. Is it not time TO MAKE A DIFFERENT CHOICE in this matter?! Come on people, speak up!! My mother had MS, my husband died of cancer, 2 conditions where people i loved, could have benefitted from cannabis. President Obama wants to mandate healthcare? Maybe he should start with his promise he made before he was elected to Decriminalize Marijuana. I am only one person, how about the rest of you out there what are you going to do to help your fellow americans who are suffering every day of their lives because of ignorance and stupidity?

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