Marijuana as a Medicine

“If there is any future for marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. Isolated cannabinoids will provide more reliable effects than crude plant mixtures. Therefore, the purpose of clinical trials of smoked marijuana would not be to develop marijuana as a licensed drug but rather to serve as a first step toward the development of non-smoked rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery systems.” IOM Report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science, p. 11, 1999.

Federal Food and Drug Administration

“Marijuana should remain a schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act because marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Furthermore, there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful.”

Office of National Drug Control Policy

“The smoked form of marijuana is not considered modern medicine. …no sound scientific studies have supported medical use of smoked marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data support the safety or efficacy of smoked marijuana for general medical use.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse

“…the inconsistency of THC dosage in different marijuana samples poses a major hindrance to valid trials and to the safe and effective use of the drug. Moreover, the adverse effects of marijuana smoke on the respiratory system will offset the helpfulness of smoked marijuana for some patients. Finally, little is known about the many chemicals besides THC that are in marijuana, or their possible deleterious impact on patients with medical conditions.”

American Medical Association

The AMA policy “should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

“Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms.”

American Glaucoma Society

“Smoking marijuana can lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) caused by glaucoma; however marijuana’s short duration of action (only 3-4 hours) would require smoking marijuana every three hours to lower IOP around the clock. Furthermore, marijuana’s mood altering effects would prevent the patient who is using it from driving, operating heavy machinery, and functioning at maximum mental capacity.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology

“Based on reviews by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the Institute of Medicine and on available scientific evidence, the Task Force on Complementary Therapies believes that no scientific evidence has been found that demonstrates increased benefits and/or diminished risks of marijuana use to treat glaucoma compared with the wide variety of pharmaceutical agents now available.”

American Cancer Society

“Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.”

American Society of Addiction Medicine

“’Medical marijuana,’ currently distributed pursuant to state legislation, does not accord with critically important aspects of the modern scientific model. It lacks quality control and standardization; can be contaminated with pesticides and microbes; and does not assure patients a reliable and reproducible dose. Increased cannabis potency heightens the risk of adverse events, especially among cannabis-naïve patients, as well as the dangers of dependence and addiction. There are not effective risk management measures to prevent diversion and abuse, especially by adolescents.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

“Rigorous scientific research to determine whethermarijuana, especially cannabinoids, has any potential therapeuticeffect is just beginning. In contrast, the significant neuropharmacologic,cognitive, behavioral, and somatic consequences of acute andlong-term marijuana use are well known and include negativeeffects on short-term memory, concentration, attention span,motivation, and problem solving, which clearly interfere withlearning; adverse effects on coordination, judgment, reactiontime, and tracking ability, which contribute substantially tounintentional deaths and injuries among adolescents (especially those associated with motor vehicles); and negative health effectswith repeated use similar to effects seen with smoking tobacco.”

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

“The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is opposed to the broad availability of smoked marijuana. Marijuana grown and provided for legal medical use should be scheduled and monitored under FDA oversight, and should be held to the same FDA standards imposed on other dangerous prescription drugs including those regarding warnings, labeling, and the ordering and filling of prescriptions.”

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