Physicians Group Urges Easing of Ban on Medical Marijuana

RELIEF: Betty Hiatt, 81, smokes medicinal marijuana at her Seattle home. Having survived cancer, Crohn's disease and the onset of Parkinson's disease, the grandmother said a few puffs each morning help quell the nausea caused by her multiple prescription drugs.RELIEF: Betty Hiatt, 81, smokes medicinal marijuana at her Seattle home. Having survived cancer, Crohn’s disease and the onset of Parkinson’s disease, the grandmother said a few puffs each morning help quell the nausea caused by her multiple prescription drugs.A large and respected association of physicians is calling on the federal government to ease its strict ban on marijuana as medicine and hasten research into the drug’s therapeutic uses. The American College of Physicians, the nation’s largest organization of doctors of internal medicine, with 124,000 members, contends that the long and rancorous debate over marijuana legalization has obscured good science that has demonstrated the benefits and medicinal promise of cannabis.

In a 13-page position paper approved by the college’s governing board of regents and posted Thursday on the group’s website, the group calls on the government to drop marijuana from Schedule I, a classification it shares with illegal drugs such as heroin and LSD that are considered to have no medicinal value and a high likelihood of abuse.

The declaration could put new pressure on Washington lawmakers and government regulators who for decades have rejected attempts to reclassify marijuana.

Bush administration officials have aggressively rebuffed all attempts in Congress, the courts and among law enforcement organizations to legitimize medical marijuana.

Clinical researchers say the federal government has resisted full study of the potential medical benefits of cannabis, instead pouring money into looking at its negative effects.

A dozen states including California have legalized medical marijuana, but the federal prohibition has led to an enforcement tug of war.

In California, federal agents continue to raid cannabis dispensaries, and the small cadre of physicians specializing in writing cannabis recommendations so that people can use medical marijuana has come under regulatory scrutiny.

Given the conflicts, most mainstream doctors have steered clear of medical marijuana.

The American College of Physicians’ position paper calls for protection of both doctors and patients from criminal and civil penalties in states that have adopted medical-marijuana laws.

“We felt the time had come to speak up about this,” said Dr. David Dale, the group’s president. “We’d like to clear up the uncertainty and anxiety of patients and physicians over this drug.”

Medical-marijuana advocates embraced the position paper as a watershed event that could help turn the battle in their favor.

Bruce Mirken, a San Francisco spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the ACP position is “an earthquake that’s going to rattle the whole medical-marijuana debate.”

The group, he said, “pulverized the government’s two favorite myths about medical marijuana — that it’s not supported by the medical community and that science hasn’t shown marijuana to have medical value.”

But officials at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said calls for legalizing medical marijuana were misguided.

“What this would do is drag us back to 14th century medicine,” said Bertha Madras, the agency’s deputy director for demand reduction. “It’s so arcane.”

She said guidance on marijuana as medicine ought to come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which she said is unlikely ever to approve leafy cannabis as a prescription drug.

Two oral derivatives of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, have won FDA approval, and the agency is also in the early stages of considering a marijuana spray.

An FDA spokeswoman declined to comment on the group’s position and referred inquiries to a 2006 media advisory noting that the agency has never approved of smoked marijuana as a medical treatment

In the 12 years since California voters approved the nation’s first-ever medical marijuana law, several medical organizations — including the American Nurses Assn. and the American Public Health Assn. — have urged Congress to make cannabis a legal medicine.

But the ACP is second in size only to the American Medical Assn., which has about 240,000 members.

The AMA has urged research into medical marijuana but opposes dropping it from Schedule I. Backers of the ACP’s position expressed hope that it could help nudge the AMA to adopt a similar stance.

“This could be a sea change,” said Dr. Abraham L. Halpern, a professor emeritus at New York Medical College.

Halpern said he intends to petition the AMA to endorse rescheduling marijuana and to push for changes in federal regulations that would prevent federal anti-drug agencies — the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse — from having virtual veto power over cannabis research.

The ACP position paper urges the use of non-smoked forms of cannabis as well as further research to identify the illnesses best treated with cannabis and the proper dosages for specific conditions.

It called for further research into cannabis as a pain reliever for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and as an aid in treatment of neurological and movement disorders such as spasticity, pain and tremor in patients with multiple sclerosis, spinal-cord injuries and other trauma.

But it cast doubt on marijuana’s efficacy for treating epilepsy and intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma, conditions that cannabis specialists in California routinely recommend be treated with pot.

The biggest effect of the report could be symbolic.

With a presidential campaign under way, the ACP’s stand could gain traction on the campaign trail or in a new administration.

“It’s going to depend on how the wind is blowing — how we the people are thinking and reacting, where we stand on this,” said Dr. Jocelyn Elders, U.S. surgeon general during the Clinton administration and a professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine.

“I think we’ve come a long way in the last decade or so.”

[email protected]

– Article from the Los Angeles Times.



  1. Sir Les on

    Now I see some people here hate God…But in the light of truth…according to scripture..ALL the plants are GOOD according to God..and service a function in the enviroment..Primarily as…Living entities, Climatizers, makers of Oxygen, and consumers of C02, filters of the water and soils, food production for the life that God made good!…and one more thing…decomposition into mycelliums to aid in the creation of soil, and in some regards to promote health in the system…by containing or effecting bacteria and Virus….in the chain of Life.
    Which God gave us…Genesis 9:3 to tend and keep! Genesis 2:15…the Primary instruction to humankind ADAM and Eve!.

    So IF God’s word is MUD to some, the words of David Suzuki should bare some followers of like minds…”To remove one of these things/plants from the natural enviroment, creates chaos in the enviroment/chain of life”

    Now we have global warming in the news!
    Sick animals!
    Virus and Bacteria plaging us!
    And A unknown mystery in the proper use of the plants God gave us to make Edens with.

    I believe that Marijuana being a sun plant..stores solar energy as heat…
    Thus it is a climatizer…of sorts!

    Its seeds are health wise considered in the medical proffession as being healthy…Omega 3,6,9…and this is in part the Alpha (first plant/ Begining/Genesis) and the Omega (end /if not restored) of death or death gained by taking it in disbediance..(Adam and Eve)..and believing they are kings and queens over the people under Idolatry..and slavery…not putting it back where it belongs..and leaving it do its natural function in the enviroments…where it could do wonders!

    Instead they deem it necessary to warent it a label of Wrong, and a penilty for having it grown or used…which is by way retarding or denying the restoration of the Garden…so God can walk on holy ground.

    So to restore Eden..I believe by undoing what was done in a form of opposites…What was taken in disobediance, is put back sinlessly…might cause a awaking…

    Eden multipied out into the universe..after we do it here on Earth?

    I can’t see why this mindset might be hated…But is it not possible, that by sharing, and caring for the Earth and all life on it should be hated…and sowing the right seeds…we can solve what money will never do!

    That is the truth…

    Money creates poverty.
    Money creates destitution and desperation!
    Money creates stress!
    Money in this form of Idol = for our livelyhood,breaks the first commandment of God.
    Money is now a Idol of ingraven image…told not to make too important for our lives!

    And so..we have those who hate the truth of God, because it profits them more?

    Global warming and wrath is not what I would call profits!

    Now science should be able to conclude…that certain plants are required elementals in the enviroments of this planet.
    TO remove one…Causes Chaos in the whole chain of life.

    and we have cause and effect to draw from, and compare notes to!
    And a book…The Holy Bible…which in some respects addresses the Ideal state…EDEN…and Humans coming round to understanding it full well…by trials and tribulations…and correcting Error….and by observation of the detramental industiral directions this world is taking to pollute the Earth for Profits and Gains!

    THe error is the prohibition and legality of this plant and others…they are all Good..according to God…and if we trust in God..then we have to adopt that truth fully.

    Turning their weapons into plowsheers and pruning hooks…that is the restoration of EDEN ideal…sinlessly done..according to the word of God//makes a abundantly giving and healthy harmonic estate!

    What we have now Today with prohibition, Idolatry, and warfare…is anything but!

    I don’t need a scientist to tell me anything…I can see it for myself!

    How we utilize the gifts, i believe are the important things…the intent.
    It doesn’t make me a God…But God can walk with those who do the right things with it.

    Ethanol for cleaner burning fuels!
    Medicines for the enviroment and the body, spirit and mind.
    And a pathway to peaceful directions onto our neighbours, who Grow these plants.

    Share!…Sharing removes the Idol.
    God Gave us everything listed in the creation…there is no mention of Money/

    Share the seed, share the word, share life…be sinless…and the world will become abundantly giving…which is the promise of God.
    Do not these things…and woe and wrath will prevail over it.

    Any truth to that?..let us ask the scientists…what is eating the forests in Canada..pestulence!
    What is raviging the lands these days?…drought,fire season?…who would of thunk it?

    Beached Whales brings Johan to mind…what was his message..and should science study that?

    Sir Les

  2. castklearr on

    No ENTITY……GOVERNMENT OR OTHERWISE HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO COME BETWEEN ME AND MY ENVIRONMENT. I, as a human being have access to every plant on EARTH an no other human has any right to stop me!


    All these regulators believe in a god that gives them some right to network like COMMUNISTS!



  3. Had Enough on

    She said guidance on marijuana as medicine ought to come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which she said is unlikely ever to approve leafy cannabis as a prescription drug.

    The problem with this statement is that it is circular reasoning. Most officials say that it is up to the FDA to approve medical marijuana but they cannot. The FDA is only allowed to approve a 100% chemically derived substance as a drug or medicine. Marijuana is not chemically nor is THC. The FDA has zero business in handling the classification of an all natural substance.

    There is no conflict because if there were we wouldn’t have herbal remedies and natural extracts in health food stores. All natural items often have claims as treatment or aiding a condition and these statements have NOT been evealuated by the FDA because for them to evaluate it the substance can have zero natural ingredients and be classified as medicine.

    Had Enough of the Lies

  4. Anonymous on

    the F.D.A has no right under the U.S. Constitution to BE AT ALL! The states never since joining the union ever gave the federal government under the U.S. Constitution the right of “FOOD OR DRUGS” TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!! SHOW ME!! They just stole it under the flase concern and under flase laws(clean and safe food act ;1906) the federal govermnent STOLE IT!!Just like nixion did in 1970 all his laws are illegal, but what scares the shit ever lawyer and judge know the federal govermnet stole it groups like normal knows this too, one lawsuit and it ends tomorrow!! but nooo! the game rolles on the Federal govermnet has NO right to make any DRUG LAWS!! let alone try to enforce them. This is our right to have removeal by force this govermnet and install a new one as per the U.S. Constitution. Reminder asshole leaders does this sound fimiler?? “GIVE ME LIBERTY,OR GIVE ME DEATH!”or maybe;One my uncle is famous for,and he said it to the people who were and evil government just like how the u.s. is becoming, he said;”NUTS”peace and pot! shall prevail!!