AMA Ends 72-Year Policy, Says Marijuana Has Medical Benefits

The American Medical Association voted today to reverse its long-held position that marijuana be retained as a Schedule I substance with no medical value.

The AMA adopted a report drafted by the AMA Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) entitled, “Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,” which affirmed the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and called for further research.

The CSAPH report concluded that, “short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Furthermore, the report urges that “the Schedule I status of marijuana be reviewed with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.”

The change of position by the largest physician-based group in the country was precipitated in part by a resolution adopted in June of 2008 by the Medical Student Section (MSS) of the AMA in support of the reclassification of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance. In the past year, the AMA has considered three resolutions dealing with medical marijuana, which also helped to influence the report and its recommendations. The AMA vote on the report took place in Houston, Texas during the organization’s annual Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates. The last AMA position, adopted 8 years ago, called for maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I substance, with no medical value.

“It’s been 72 years since the AMA has officially recognized that marijuana has both already-demonstrated and future-promising medical utility,” said Sunil Aggarwal, Ph.D., the medical student who spearheaded both the passage of the June 2008 resolution by the MSS and one of the CSAPH report’s designated expert reviewers. “The AMA has written an extensive, well-documented, evidence-based report that they are seeking to publish in a peer-reviewed journal that will help to educate the medical community about the scientific basis of botanical cannabis-based medicines.” Aggarwal is also on the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest medical marijuana advocacy organization in the U.S.

The AMA’s about face on medical marijuana follows an announcement by the Obama Administration in October discouraging U.S. Attorneys from taking enforcement actions in medical marijuana states. In February 2008, a resolution was adopted by the American College of Physicians (ACP), the country’s second largest physician group and the largest organization of doctors of internal medicine. The ACP resolution called for an “evidence-based review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance to determine whether it should be reclassified to a different schedule. “The two largest physician groups in the U.S. have established medical marijuana as a health care issue that must be addressed,” said ASA Government Affairs Director Caren Woodson. “Both organizations have underscored the need for change by placing patients above politics.”

Though the CSAPH report has not been officially released to the public, AMA documentation indicates that it: “(1) provides a brief historical perspective on the use of cannabis as medicine; (2) examines the current federal and state-based legal envelope relevant to the medical use of cannabis; (3) provides a brief overview of our current understanding of the pharmacology and physiology of the endocannabinoid system; (4) reviews clinical trials on the relative safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis and botanical-based products; and (5) places this information in perspective with respect to the current drug regulatory framework.”

Further information:

Executive Summary of AMA Report: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/AMA_Report_Executive_Summary.pdf
Recommendations of AMA Report: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/AMA_Report_Recommendations.pdf
American College of Physicians resolution: http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/other_issues/medmarijuana.pdf

– Article from Opposing Views.


AMA Calls for Review of Medical Marijuana’s Legal Status

by Marijuana Policy Project

In a move considered historic by supporters of medical marijuana, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates today adopted a new policy position calling for the review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug in the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The old language in Policy H-95.952 had previously recommended that “marijuana be retained in Schedule I,” which groups marijuana with drugs such as heroin, LSD and PCP that are deemed to have no accepted medical uses and to be unsafe for use even under medical supervision.

The revised policy, adopted today, states, “Our AMA urges that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.” It goes on to explain that this position should not be construed as an endorsement of state medical marijuana programs.

“This shift, coming from what has historically been America’s most cautious and conservative major medical organization, is historic,” said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, who attended the AMA meeting. “Marijuana’s Schedule I status is not just scientifically untenable, given the wealth of recent data showing it to be both safe and effective for chronic pain and other conditions, but it’s been a major obstacle to needed research.”

Drugs listed in Schedule II, for which medical use is permitted with strict controls, include cocaine, morphine and methamphetamine. A pill containing THC, the component responsible for marijuana’s “high,” is classed in Schedule III, whose looser requirements allow phoned-in prescriptions.

With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

– Article from Common Dreams.

Comments

15 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    The last AMA position, adopted 8 years ago, called for maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I substance, with no medical value.

  2. watches on

    GLTaqiu100409?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Marc Jacobs???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  3. plink on

    Key sentence:
    “The AMA’s about face on medical marijuana follows an announcement by the Obama Administration in October discouraging U.S. Attorneys from taking enforcement actions in medical marijuana states.”

    This association has done nothing until the US looks like legalising it. Not a complaint for 72 years, despite a whopping Schedule 1 classification. Researchers they aint, authorities they aint. They’re puppets.

  4. Mojojojo on

    …do you even know what you’re saying? More than have of that shpeal was woefully misinformed.. or maybe you just twisted words/facts around to make your point hit home a bit more emotionally..

    Either way you’ve said nothing relevant to the topic at hand.. you fail at the internetz. Just sell the blinkedy box and the glowy screen to someone more intelligent than yourself and go take up coloring..

  5. Anonymous on

    European Terrorism on Our Continent,
    and Crimes Against Our People became
    “discovery and conquest”, “expansion”,
    “gaining land”.

    Stealing All of Our Continent and Wealth, and Making Us Poor,
    became the birth of the lies of “white superiority”,
    and “manifest destiny”.

    Murdering Our Leaders, and Massacring Our Women and Children
    became “military operations”, “necessary actions”,
    “a civilizing force”.

    Enslavement of Our People
    and Continent to the Interests
    of Europeans became
    “the birth of captialism”
    and a crime against humanity.

    European “accomplishments” based on Stealing Our Wealth became
    “Western Civilization”.

    And the Monstrous Evils of Colonialism, Slavery, and Genocide
    became “America”,
    “the American way”,

    and the lies, poverty, and slavery that we live today.

    There has been nothing civilized, “Christian”, moral, or ethical in the behavior of Europeans since the moment that they illegally set foot on our land. They killed unarmed men, women, and children in the tens of millions. They assaulted, mutilated and tortured our people in order to keep us terrorized, and in a state of constant submission to the process of genocide.

    This is ALL of yours history!! This is HOW in the past you ALL acted!! You seems not to changed much in the last 500 years execpt now your fucking over your own kind now?

  6. MRDARGATZ420 on

    the first 72 years of the AMA was pure quackery

  7. Anonymous on

    Has anyone else noticed the amount of GOOD news regarding cannabis lately? Of course Fox news had to air a story about a lady drove the wrong way on a road and killed 3-4 people…was a regular MJ user! eek! They just HAD to try and link the cannabis use to it…which goes to prove my long held view that IF Fox news is after you, you must be doing something right!!

  8. Jay Dell on

    Finally it has come full circle in the prevailing winds of change,as the foolish men of the past have come to see the truth.The simple word is as a wise man once said the might of the pen is greater than that of the sword!
    We all tire not in vain but with a desire to bring truth of less pain and suffering to the ill and needy people of the world.The hands that type these letters are all out of love for the truth .ALL we have is THE WORD.

    lOVE IN TRUTH

    aka CRAZY BIRD

  9. Anonymous on

    ARE YOU SERIOUS???
    WHERE DO I BEGIN WITH THAT ONE?!
    DOWN WITH I.P.

  10. Anonymous on

    In the wake of the AMA recommendations and findings, I pray that the “College des Medecins de la province de Quebec” similarly adopts a politics that recognizes the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
    Thank You all,
    I love you dearly.

  11. Anonymous on

    In 2001, the U.S. Government, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, filed for and was awarded in 2003 a patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. U.S. Patent 6630507

  12. David on

    Not only is it great for that reason, but it might break the hold the DEA has on who can study cannabis. As well as force the government to move it out of the schedule I category, and finally publicly recognize it’s medical benefits. Instead of saying marijuana has no medical value while having four medical patients as well as cannabis patents themselves.

  13. Anonymous on

    I wonder if they have put their “patents” in place already in order to create this “new and thoroughly revised” outcome?

    It’s not always what it seems you know ?

  14. Anonymous on

    This is huge, now anti-cannabis foes have one less source to point too and cannabis proponents a new one.