- Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012
- Written by Gene Ganjian
A recently published issue of The Open Neurology Journal includes a government-sponsored marijuana study which debunks the 'no medical use' classification currently existing in the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
For those who don't know, Marijuana is strictly classified under federal law as a Schedule I (its most serious category of substances), defined as a drug with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in the U.S., and labeled as unsafe for use even under medical supervision. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and PCP. Keep in mind that it's literally placed in a more dangerous category than cocaine.
While countless studies have already shown that marijuana is useful in treating a wide range of medical conditions and illnesses, none of these studies directly addressed the DEA's classification of marijuana regarding its medical uses. This latest study, sponsored and funded by the State of California, was conducted at Berkeley's University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research and overthrows the DEA's Schedule I classification for marijuana by describing the classification as “not tenable” and “not accurate.”
The study focused on marijuana's classification and how this relates to the progress of research into marijuana as a viable medical treatment. The DEA defines Schedule I drugs as having “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” As such they are not to be dispensed, administered, or prescribed for medical use. The UC study says that the classification of marijuana under Schedule I blocks its medical progress as a medical treatment. Indeed, the report's writers said that based on current medical literature on marijuana's medical uses, the Schedule I classification “is not tenable” and inaccurately labels cannabis as having no medical value. While the study does acknowledge that marijuana can be open to abuse, its abuse profile is more in line with drugs classified under Schedule III. Schedule III drugs include dronabinol and codeine. The study attributes Cannabis' Schedule I designation as part of the conflict between political ideology and scientific medical evidence.
The study pointed out that its evidence shows marijuana reliably minimized chronic muscle spasticity and pain from multiple sclerosis. The research paper also studied the difference in marijuana's effect when it is smoked or vaporized. It concludes that smoked administration of marijuana produces the desired effects rapidly and efficiently. However, it notes that vaporization is the better administration method because this gives off less carbon monoxide.
While the study took note of the negative side effects of marijuana treatment like heart palpitation, muscle pain and weakness, lightheadedness, fatigue, and dizziness, it concludes that these “dose-related” effects were mild to moderate in terms of severity and were observed to decline with time. The report also noted that there has never been reported cases of overdoses from marijuana alone.
The report's authors also found that cannabis does indeed cause withdrawal symptoms. However, they note that such symptoms are mild with experienced smokers and usually go away within three days. The report does add that ingesting marijuana through medically infused products does impair a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle. However, it points out that the data on traffic accidents and marijuana use is “inconclusive.”
The report concludes that more marijuana clinical trials are required to identify which parts of the plant's components are responsible for marijuana's medicinal effects. More studies are also needed to identify the range of medical conditions marijuana can treat.
Time will tell if this recent study will give an inch of movement to the ongoing delay strategy for reclassification of marijuana from the U.S government, therefore giving a positive outlook for the emerging Medical Cannabis Industry.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 17 states and Washington, D.C.