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February 2008
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American College of Physicians support medical marijuana

This is big news. This is “the nation’s largest organization of doctors of internal medicine, with 124,000 members.”

A large and respected association of physicians is calling on the federal government to ease its strict ban on marijuana as medicine and hasten research into the drug’s therapeutic uses. […]
In a 13-page position paper approved by the college’s governing board of regents and posted Thursday on the group’s website, the group calls on the government to drop marijuana from Schedule I, a classification it shares with illegal drugs such as heroin and LSD that are considered to have no medicinal value and a high likelihood of abuse.

The full paper is available here (pdf)
Here are a couple of their positions:

Position 1: ACP supports programs and funding for rigorous scientific evaluation of the potential therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and the publication of such findings.

Position 1a: ACP supports increased research for conditions where the efficacy of
marijuana has been established to determine optimal dosage and route of delivery.

Position 1b: Medical marijuana research should not only focus on determining drug
efficacy and safety but also on determining efficacy in comparison with other available
treatments.

Position 2: ACP encourages the use of nonsmoked forms of THC that have proven
therapeutic value.

Position 4: ACP urges review of marijuana‰s status as a Schedule I controlled substance
and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence
regarding marijuana‰s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions.

Position 5: ACP strongly supports exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil
liability; or professional sanctioning, such as loss of licensure or credentialing, for
physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law.
Similarly, ACP strongly urges protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who
use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.

One more major medical group supporting medical marijuana. And this might end up pushing the AMA to finally stop weaseling out on the issue.

It just keeps getting more and more difficult for the government to even attempt to maintain that “The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” which is a requirement for marijuana to remain in Schedule 1.

So instead, they just make stuff up, and their statements keep getting wilder.

But officials at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said calls for legalizing medical marijuana were misguided.

“What this would do is drag us back to 14th century medicine,” said Bertha Madras, the agency’s deputy director for demand reduction. “It’s so arcane.”

Arcane? [known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric]? Are you kidding me? Marijuana is one of the least arcane medical substances in existence.

Maybe Bertha is calling the American College of Physicians arcane? She better hope she doesn’t need medical attention in the near future.

The American College of Physicians paper is a great step. It isn’t perfect. There is one statement with which I strongly disagree.

Position 3: ACP supports the current process for obtaining federal research-grade medical marijuana.

They’re not going to be able to do a very good job of stimulating further research as long as the current federal bureaucracy regarding obtaining research marijuana exists.

And then there’s this interesting little dig in their conclusion:

The science on medical marijuana should not be obscured or hindered by the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana for general use.

I agree. But keep in mind that it is not the “legalizers” who are obscuring or hindering the science on medical marijuana — we have fully supported further science and development. It is the prohibitionists who have blocked science because of their fears of it leading to legalization.

[Thanks Jackl and Jeralyn]

Friday Open Thread

“bullet” Look, I’m no fan of Chavez, so it really says something that I am more likely to believe him regarding the drug war than the credibility of our own government.

President Hugo Chavez accused the United States on Sunday of sending Colombian right-wing paramilitary forces into Venezuela to destabilize border areas and arm shantytown […]