Scientific Journal: Cannabis’ “Schedule I Classification Is Not Tenable”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 2, 2012

    The present classification of cannabis and its organic compounds as schedule I prohibited substances under federal law is scientifically indefensible, according to a just published review in The Open Neurology Journal.

    Investigators with the University of California at San Diego and the University of California, Davis reviewed the results of several recent clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled or vaporized cannabis. They concluded:

    “Evidence is accumulating that cannabinoids may be useful medicine for certain indications. Control of nausea and vomiting and the promotion of weight gain in chronic inanition are already licensed uses of oral THC (dronabinol capsules). Recent research indicates that cannabis may also be effective in the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy and muscle spasticity from conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Other indications have been proposed, but adequate clinical trials have not been conducted.

    “… The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking. It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed). The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner.”

    The lead author of the review, Dr. Igor Grant, is the director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. In recent years, the CMCR has conducted various FDA-approved ‘gold standard’ clinical trials evaluating inhaled cannabis as a therapeutic agent. The results of several of those trials are summarized here.

    Under federal law, schedule I controlled substances are defined as possessing “a high potential for abuse, … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” Heroin and Methaqualone (Quaaludes) are examples of other Schedule I substances.

    In 2011, the Obama administration — via the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — formally denied a nine-year-old administrative petition filed by NORML and a coalition of public interest organizations calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance without any ‘accepted medical use in treatment.’ In her denial of the petition, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart alleged: “[T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving (marijuana’s) efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. … At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”

    Last month, Ms. Leonhart testified before Congress that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public’s health because, in her opinion, “all illegal drugs are bad.”

    Coalition advocates are presently appealing the DEA’s denial of their petition in federal court.

    Full text of the paper from The Open Neurology Journal, entitled “Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke,” is available online here.

    138 responses to “Scientific Journal: Cannabis’ “Schedule I Classification Is Not Tenable””

    1. Will Piriczky says:

      Ms. Leonhart testified before Congress that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public’s health
      Yeah marijuana helps spread AIDS with the use of sharing pipes WTF

    2. Pablo says:

      Someone should ask Michelle specifically, “Why does the U.S. government hold a patent for CBD if there is no medical value”? and “Why is hemp production in the U.S. illegal if there is no abuse potential”? It’s OK Michelle… we’ll give you time to fact check!

    3. J fatty says:

      Loenhart is a moron.

    4. Anonymous says:

      Im amazed that anyone still thinks our Gov’t gives half a fuck about Science.

    5. Oliver says:

      Leonhart is fucking pathetic. “All illegal drugs are bad.” She should be fired for even attempting to defend her stance using such elementary rhetoric, especially testifying before our Congress. What a fucking joke. I hope she gets the death penalty when the draconian prohibition laws are finally laid to rest.

    6. Rob says:

      Leonhart-“all illegal drugs are bad, Mkay.”

    7. David H says:

      Can’t believe I was the first to say this…

      It’s bad because its illegal, and its illegal because all bad drugs are illegal, ergo it is illegal

      Monty python says… All wood burns, therefore anything that burns is wood

      It’s a little bit of circular logic to me.

    8. toker says:

      cant we just sue the federal government to end prohibition, on the grounds that there law is a lie and not only is weed consumed safely everyday but it is used medically for 16 states in the USA?

    9. free radical says:

      leonhart also said in response to whether returning veterans has a right to use medical cannabis to treat their PTSD, “that is between them and their doctor.” Oh, really!?!?! Is that why your agency has stonewalled any attempt to reschedule cannabis as medicine, and furthermore cracked down on medical cannabis providers that were obeying state law? Is that why you attempted to stifle free speech by disallowing publications to advertise cannabis businesses, sent letters to landlords threatening to seize their property if they rented to cannabis businesses, and attempted to prevent users of medical cannabis from exercising their second amendment right to bear arms? All that was necessary?, when the choice to use cannabis is between the patient and his/her doctor?

    10. M Small says:

      Ms. Leonhart testified…that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public’s health because, in her opinion, “all illegal drugs are bad.”

      Really? Since when does the legal status of a substance affect its threat? With that logic you could legalize either one and instantly make them safe. Genius at work.