Federal Agency Recognizes Medical Use for Marijuana
For the first time, a federal agency has recognized a medicinal use for marijuana, a significant development that may benefit medical marijuana dispensaries targeted by the US government for violating the federal prohibition of cannabis, the Washington Independent reports.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the National Institute of Health, which itself is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, added to its cancer treatment database an entry on the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Not only does the NCI recognize cannabis as a palliative remedy, it also went so far as to say there may be a “direct antitumor effect” from using the drug. Here is an excerpt:
The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.
The NCI statement is significant because it could affect the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, the most serious category which also includes illegal drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Schedule I drugs, according to the federal government, have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” You can see the dilemma the new NCI stance places the federal government in. Interestingly, cocaine, morphine and even methamphetamine are listed as Schedule II drugs, meaning they have some accepted medical uses, albeit with severe restrictions.
Removal of cannabis from Schedule I would lead to reduced prison populations– according to the Washington Independent, 1 in 8 US prisoners is locked up for offenses related to the production, sale or use of a naturally-occurring plant, a plant which has been used for medicinal, spiritual, practical and recreational use by humans for thousands of years.
Thirty-four states have enacted laws that recognize the medicinal properties of cannabis. Fifteen states, plus the District of Columbia, allow legal, medical use of the drug. The stance of the Obama administration, as stated by Attorney General Eric Holder, is that the Department of Justice will not raid medical marijuana dispensaries as long as they are in compliance with existing state laws. Still, the feds have stopped short of decriminalizing the plant. The NCI recognition is one more nail in the coffin of marijuana prohibition in America.
Tagged 1 in 8 prisoners locked up for marijuana offenses, attorney general eric holder, benefits of medical marijuana, department of health and human services, DOJ marijuana policy, eric holder medicinal marijuana, federal agency recognizes medical use for marijuana, marijuana schedule I drug, medical marijuana dispensaries, national cancer institue medical marijuana, national cancer institute, national institute of health, NCI direct antitumor effect marijuana, NCI medical marijuana, obama administration medical marijuana, obama medical marijuana policy, schedule I drugs, schedule I drugs no currently accepted medical use, US Department of Justice, US DOJ