The American Medical Association this week adopted a report from the Council on Science and Public Health that encourages the Federal government to reclassify marijuana away from a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs, by definition, have no medical value, and now even the more conservative AMA is recognizing that marijuana does not belong in that category. The full report is here.
The AMA also concluded that more research should be done and that the current body of evidence doesn’t meet the standard for FDA approval (Bruce Mirken discusses that in more detail here), but they also rejected an amendment that would have added that doctors shouldn’t recommend smoked marijuana. The topic of smoked marijuana is largely an irrelevant distraction, considering that alternative forms of ingesting the drug, such as vaporizing, are readily available to anyone who’s concerned about the side effects of smoking it.
Kudos to local medical marijuana expert Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, who played a role in reviewing the CSAPH paper and has long been pushing the AMA to recognize the research being done on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. It’s important to remember that when marijuana was first made illegal in 1937, it was an AMA representative who argued against it because doctors even then were concerned that a plant that was safe and had potential as medicine should not be restricted by the Federal government.