Chuck Rosenberg, acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently made a speech in which he declared that marijuana is not medicine. This may come as a surprise to the many who have benefitted from the medicinal properties of marijuana as well as the researchers who have been working on cannabis medicines.
Rosenberg said that if smoking marijuana could help people, he would be the last one to stand in their way. But before the DEA will recognize the medicinal properties of marijuana, it must pass the Food and Drug Administration process, and science must agree. The Washington Examiner reported on this opinion and found that misconceptions about marijuana still abound.
Reminded of schedule 1
While marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 substance along with heroin, LSD, oxycodone, and methamphetamine are schedule 2. Many activists have attempted to get marijuana rescheduled to schedule 2, but they have failed. The DEA and FDA are still adamant that the medicinal properties of marijuana don’t exist.
And the DEA gets recommendations on the classification of drugs from the FDA. However, Rosenberg admitted that marijuana can benefit kids with intractable epilepsy.
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Putting people at risk
Co-speaker at the event, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, said medical marijuana should be researched, and that administrative stumbling blocks preventing research should be lifted. However, he doesn’t feel that legislation should be based on guesswork.
Murthy expressed his concern about state laws allowing recreational use of marijuana, saying it is addictive. He is also concerned about the harm it can cause to young brains, which are vulnerable to possible substance abuse and dependence.
States got carried away
Murthy’s opinion is that state legislators got carried away. They got caught in the momentum around marijuana and passed policies that science doesn’t support. He especially disapproves of recreational use.
Murthy says that when young people develop substance use disorders, it makes the chance of becoming addicted to other substances greater later in life. He says addiction to any substance, be it marijuana or tobacco, when young, is a big concern.
Science says not addictive
Oddly enough, science doesn’t support many of the arguments Murthy put forward. Out of 8,000 people between 15 and 64 years of age who have tried marijuana, only 9% fit the criteria of addiction.
The corresponding figure for alcohol is 15%, cocaine 17%, heroin 23% and, wait for it, nicotine 35%. In other words, a few people get addicted to marijuana, but 91% of people who have tried it did not get hooked. Welcome to the new world, Mr. Murthy we sincerely wish you a pleasant awakening.
Scientists believe in medicinal properties of marijuana
Despite all the talk about the “unproven” medicinal properties of marijuana, quite a few studies have progressed to the degree where companies have registered cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals.
In other instances, science may not have progressed far enough for us to be sure that marijuana works. But since many of these conditions don’t respond to prescription meds, and marijuana might help, criminalizing marijuana use seems draconian.
Not necessarily high
Finally, medical marijuana doesn’t have to make people high, and without a high, there’s no reason to forbid its use. For example, CBD oil contains so little THC that it cannot make people stoned. Yet it remains illegal under federal law.
Perhaps it’s time for lawmakers to get a dose of the latest science. If they did, they’d have to concede the point: the medicinal properties of marijuana are real!