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General statements against medical marijuana

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American Medical Association. Official Policy Statement. June 2001: "The American Medical Association (AMA) calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy and the application of such results to the understanding and treatment of disease. The AMA recommends that marijuana be retained in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act pending the outcome of such studies."[1]

John Walters. Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy. Syndicated editorial. Mar. 2002: "Smoked marijuana damages the brain, heart, lungs, and immune system. It impairs learning and interferes with memory, perception, and judgment. Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds and has been implicated in a high percentage of automobile crashes and workplace accidents."[2]

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in an Apr. 20, 2006 "Inter-Agency Advisory." posted on its website, "Marijuana is listed in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which administers the CSA, continues to support that placement and FDA concurred because marijuana met the three criteria for placement in Schedule I under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1) (e.g., 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. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."[3]

Mark Souder, Member of the US House of Representatives (R-IN), wrote the following in the "Issues: Medical Marijuana," section of his website, (accessed Sep. 5, 2007): "The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency charged with protecting the health of Americans, has never found smoked marijuana to be a safe and effective drug. In April 2006, following my request, the FDA released an interagency advisory confirming that smoked marijuana is not medicine because: (1) marijuana has a high potential for abuse; (2) it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (3) it has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. The advisory also stated: '...there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful.' The FDA has approved Marinol, however, and I support the availability of this prescription drug, which is currently available to patients. Marinol pills contain synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana."[4]

Eric A. Voth, MD, Chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy. "Guidelines for Prescribing Medical Marijuana." Western Journal of Medicine. Nov 2001 published in the Western Journal of Medicine: "Physicians should remember that marijuana remains a schedule I drug, that it has not been approved as safe and efficacious by the Food and Drug Administration, and that the use of marijuana by patients holds inherent risk. We do not support recommending the medicinal use of marijuana."[5]

Drug Watch International. "Position Statement on Marijuana for Medical Use." July 30, 2001: "Smoked marijuana is neither an acceptable medical treatment nor an alternative medical treatment for any illness. Marijuana use has serious health consequences. Concentration, motor coordination, memory, lungs, reproductive and immune systems are all adversely impacted by marijuana use; marijuana is addictive. Physicians who treat people for cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and other diseases do not favor the use of marijuana. Not one American health organization accepts marijuana as medicine. These include the American Medical Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Glaucoma Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Cancer Society. FDA/DEA have repeatedly rejected marijuana for medicinal use. Marijuana fails to meet any of the Drug Enforcement Administration's requirements or Federal Drug Administration's eight criteria for approving drugs for medical use."[6]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). "National Drug Control Strategy 2001.": "The Administration is adamantly opposed to the use of marijuana outside of authorized research. However, legitimate medications containing marijuana components have proven effective in relieving the symptoms of some medical conditions… In light of the need for research-based evidence, ONDCP asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in January 1997 to review all scientific evidence concerning the medical use of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids… The IOM study concluded that there is little future in smoked marijuana as medication.

Although marijuana smoke delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the body, it also contains harmful substances, including most of those found in tobacco smoke. The long-term harms from smoking make it a poor drug delivery system, particularly for pregnant women and patients with chronic diseases. In addition, cannabis contains a variable mixture of biologically active compounds. Even in cases where marijuana can provide symptomatic relief, the crude plant does not meet the modern expectation that medicines be of known quality and composition. Nor can smoked tmarijuana guarantee precise dosage. If there is any future for cannabinoid medications, it lies with agents of certain composition and delivery systems that permit controlled doses."[7]

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