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Medical Marijuana

DRUG WAR FACTS
compiled by Kendra E. Wright and Paul M. Lewin
for Common Sense for Drug Policy, http://www.csdp.org/
Updated: March, 1999
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Factbook : Medical Marijuana
The Institute of Medicine's 1999 report on medical marijuana stated, "The
accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs,
particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting,
and appetite stimulation." Researchers emphasized the following conclusions:
Cannabinoids likely have a natural role in pain modulation, control of
movement, and memory.
The natural role of cannabinoids in immune systems is likely multifaceted
and remains unclear.
The brain develops tolerance to cannabinoids.
Animal research demonstrates the potential for dependence, but this
potential is observed under a narrower range of conditions than with
benzodiazepines, opiates, cocaine, or nicotine.
Withdrawal symptoms can be observed in animals, but appear to be mild
compared to opiates or benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium®).
 Source:	Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A Benson, Jr.
 (1999). Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Division of
 Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC:
 National Academy Press.
The Institute of Medicine's 1999 report on medical marijuana examined the
question whether the medical use of marijuana would lead to an increase of
marijuana use in the general population and concluded that, "At this point
there are no convincing data to support this concern. The existing data are
consistent with the idea that this would not be a problem if the medical use of
marijuana were as closely regulated as other medications with abuse potential."
The report also noted that, "this question is beyond the issues normally
considered for medical uses of drugs, and should not be a factor in evaluating
the therapeutic potential of marijuana or cannabinoids."
 Source:	Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A Benson, Jr.
 (1999). Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Division of
 Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC:
 National Academy Press.
In the Institute of Medicine's report on medical marijuana, the
researchers examined the physiological risks of using marijuana and cautioned,
"Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a
variety of effects. However, except for the harms associated with smoking, the
adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for
other medications."
 Source:	Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A Benson, Jr.
 (1999). Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Division of
 Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC:
 National Academy Press.
The Institute of Medicine's 1999 report on medical marijuana examined the
question of whether marijuana could diminish patients' immune system - an
important question when considering its use by AIDS and cancer patients. The
report concluded that, "the short-term immunosuppressive effects are not well
established but, if they exist, are not likely great enough to preclude a
legitimate medical use."
 Source:	Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A Benson, Jr.
 (1999). Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Division of
 Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC:
 National Academy Press.
In spite of the established medical value of marijuana, doctors are
presently permitted to prescribe cocaine and morphine--but not
marijuana.
 Source:  The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C.
 801 et seq.
Organizations that have endorsed medical access to marijuana include:
the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians; American
Bar Association; American Public Health Association; American Society of
Addiction Medicine; AIDS Action Council; British Medical Association;
California Academy of Family Physicians; California Legislative Council for
Older Americans; California Medical Association; California Nurses Association;
California Pharmacists Association; California Society of Addiction Medicine;
California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; Colorado
Nurses Association; Consumer Reports Magazine; Kaiser Permanente;
Lymphoma Foundation of America; Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network;
National Association of Attorneys General; National Association of People with
AIDS; National Nurses Society on Addictions; New Mexico Nurses Association; New
York State Nurses Association; New England Journal of Medicine; and
Virginia Nurses Association.  A few of the editorial boards that have endorsed
medical access to marijuana include: Boston Globe; Chicago Tribune; Miami
Herald; New York Times; Orange County Register; and USA
Today.
Many organizations have favorable positions (e.g., unimpeded research) on
medical marijuana.  These groups include: The Institute of Medicine, The
American Cancer Society; American Medical Association; Australian Commonwealth
Department of Human Services and Health; California Medical Association;
Federation of American Scientists; Florida Medical Association; and the
National Academy of Sciences.
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 established five categories, or
"schedules," into which all illicit and prescription drugs were placed.
Marijuana was placed in Schedule I, which defines the substance as having a
high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United
States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.  To
contrast, over 90 published reports and studies have shown marijuana has
medical efficacy.
 Sources:  The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C.
 801 et seq.; Common Sense for Drug Policy, Compendium of
 Reports, Research and Articles Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Medical
 Marijuana, Vol. I & Vol. II, Falls Church, VA:  Common Sense for Drug
 Policy (1997, March).
The U.S. Penal Code states that any person can be imprisoned for up to
one year for possession of one marijuana cigarette and imprisoned for up to
five years for growing a single marijuana plant.
 Source:  The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C.
 801 et seq.
On September 6, 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chief
Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled:
"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active
substances known.  ...[T]he provisions of the [Controlled Substances] Act
permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II.
It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to
stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance."
 Source:  U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, "In the
 Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition," [Docket #86-22] (1988,
 September 6), p. 57.
The DEA's Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young concluded:  "In strict
medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.  For
example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response.  By comparison,
it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death.  Marijuana
in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances
known to man.  By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used
within the supervised routine of medical care."
 Source:  U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, "In the
 Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition," [Docket #86-22], (1988,
 September 6), p. 57.
Between 1978 and 1997, 35 states and the District of Columbia passed
legislation recognizing marijuana's medicinal value.
States include:  AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IO, LA, MA, ME, MI,
MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV,
and WI.
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Available online at: http://www.csdp.org/factbook/
Questions, comments or suggestions for additions and modifications
may be addressed to the Paul Lewin at: [email protected]
To stay informed, we recommend the DrugSense Weekly Newsletter;
http://www.drugsense.org/nl/


See also:
See also: Drug war facts
See also: Hemp library.


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