According to the Seattle Times, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to keep marijuana and its derivatives classified as a Schedule 1 drug. That class of drugs includes heroin and other dangerous drugs that have no medical value. That ruling caused the marijuana health benefits controversy to rage on!
That decision flies in the face of evidence to the contrary.
In July, 2016, Susan R.B. Weiss, Director of Extramural Research, National Institute of Drug Abuse, NDIA, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. The facts she presented included:
- Washington D.C. and 25 states have enacted laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
- Another 16 states have enacted laws that allow the use of cannabidiol, a chemical that is found in marijuana.
- Research “suggests” that there are many medical uses for cannabidiol, including pediatric epilepsy, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.
- Research “suggests” that THC, a substance found in marijuana, may be beneficial for treatment of Tourette syndrome, sleep disorders, and substance abuse disorders.
Her goal was to work with Congress and others to reduce barriers to research. To date, according to Weiss’ testimony, NDIA has spent millions on 281 research projects related to the medical use of marijuana.
Another little known fact about the federal government’s knowledge of marijuana is that the United States, represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, has a patent on cannabinoids as a “new class of antioxidant drugs”. The patent claims that the drug is useful for treating conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and trauma.
Web MD notes that there is no organization that keeps track of marijuana research. The website page contains a list of controlled research studies on marijuana since 1990. There have been numerous studies, in this collection alone, that show marijuana is beneficial for treating a wide range of medical issues.
In 2015, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015, the CARERS Act, was introduced in the Senate. Subsequently, the four related bills were introduced, including an identical bill by the House. All bills were referred to subcommittees that have, to date, taken no action. The CARERS bill would have rescheduled marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug, made additional research easier, made access for veterans easier, and removed concerns about violations of federal law.
While states continue to enact legislation that legalizes marijuana or its derivatives for medical and, in some states, recreational use, the federal government refuses to reclassify it as a beneficial drug. Instead, it continues to tout that it has no medical value.
I have to wonder if this is actually a money issue for the government. It is known that the federal government conducts research using taxpayer dollars, and then sells the resulting drug to private pharmaceutical companies. Those companies then become even richer, but do not pass any of that wealth to the taxpayers through reasonable drug prices. Is that what is going on with marijuana and its derivatives?