American Academy of Pediatrics Calls For Rescheduling Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 26, 2015

    American Academy of Pediatrics Calls For Rescheduling CannabisAn updated policy statement issued today by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls for the rescheduling of the cannabis plant under federal law to better facilitate clinical trial research and to promote the plant’s eventual pharmaceutical development.

    The new position statement resolves: “The AAP strongly supports research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and supports a review of policies promoting research on the medical use of these compounds. The AAP recommends changing marijuana from a Drug Enforcement Administration schedule I (controlled substance) to a Schedule II drug to facilitate this (clinical) research.”

    By definition, schedule I controlled substances are defined as possessing no “accepted medical use.” Clinical protocols involving cannabis are strictly controlled and require authorization from various federal agencies, including DEA, FDA, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – the latter of which is designated under federal law as the sole provider of cannabis and/or organic cannabinoids for research purposes.

    “A Schedule 1 listing means there’s no medical use or helpful indications, but we know that’s not true because there has been limited evidence showing [marijuana] may be helpful for certain conditions in adults,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, who co-authored the new policy statement.

    The newly amended AAP resolution also acknowledges that certain types of cannabinoid-therapy may provide benefits to adolescents, particularly those patient populations with treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy and chronic seizures. It states, “The AAP recognizes that marijuana may currently be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.”

    Last year the Epilepsy Foundation of America issued a similar resolution, citing preclinical data and observational reports of the potential therapeutic benefit of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) in pediatric patients and calling for “an end to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) restrictions that limit clinical trials and research into medical marijuana for epilepsy.”

    Separate language in the AAP’s position statement also addresses the social use of the plant, affirming, “AAP strongly supports the decriminalization of marijuana use for both minors and young adults and encourages pediatricians to advocate for laws that prevent harsh criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana.” By contrast, the statement acknowledges the group’s continued opposition to the legalization of marijuana, a policy change that it alleges poses “potential harm to children.”

    Text of the amended AAP position paper is online here. A summary of resolutions issued by other medical and health organizations in regard to patient access to therapeutic cannabis is available on the NORML website here.

    34 responses to “American Academy of Pediatrics Calls For Rescheduling Cannabis”

    1. Evening Bud says:

      It’s encouraging to see various doctors recognizing the absurdity of marijuana’s Schedule I classification.

      One of my former primary doctors once asked me if I smoked. When I mentioned that I occasionally smoked pot, he shrugged, and said, “No, I mean cigarettes.”

      When I answered to the negative, he nodded approvingly. Even some doctors obviously understand the difference.

    2. GrowingMary says:

      This is spot on. Tell me something……. How can something be illegal and legal at the same time. Things are at least starting to move in the right directions.

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      “A Schedule 1 listing means there’s no medical use or helpful indications, but WE KNOW THAT’S NOT TRUE because there has been limited evidence showing [marijuana] may be helpful for certain conditions in adults,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, who co-authored the new policy statement.

      They also favor decriminalization, but not legalization. I wonder if the opposition to legalization was included to placate prohibitionist dinosaurs still active within the organization.

    4. TheOracle says:

      Thank you, AAP! Thank you, NORML!

      I have to echo the sentiments expressed that cannabis does NOT belong in Schedule I.

      Cannabis should not be in the Schedule at all.

      Too many children have had their families devastated by Child and Domestic Services taking them away from their parents for cannabis! Too many young adults, not yet 18, are drawn into the criminal justice system through cannabis prohibition, especially people of color.

      I mean, when is it ever going to end? Let’s not drag out ending prohibition any longer, for everybody’s sake. It’s a win-win to legalize. Even the NIMBY prohibitionists who never used cannabis for any reason and never will use cannabis for any reason, medical or recreational, can get at the tax monies from legal cannabis via the General Fund of the respective state they live in. As things currently stand under prohibition a majority of the money Americans spend on cannabis is still going to the cartels, mainly to Mexico, the supplier of the demand the U.S. has de fact outsourced to the drug lords.

      Legalization keeps the money, jobs, taxes in the U.S., separates the hard drugs market from the cannabis market. All that flow of money to Mexico slows to a trickle.

    5. Todd says:

      The brain is so misunderstood that doctors and bureaucrats should back away from the topic all together. If you look at a test pattern, like for a TV set, and it looks normal to you then your mind is working correctly. Emotions such as loneliness only come from thinking your mind is a poorly functioning brain, but then why would a test pattern look normal? Yes, mental health is the future of mankind, but not delineated by the government and its many bureaus and affiliations. It’s great to see a grassroots effort like NORML succeeding!

    6. Julian says:

      Congratulations NORML! Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this moment! The approval from this organization is incredible! It seemed like not so long ago we couldn’t get a white flag from the AMA, and now here is the AAP coming out of the bonds of the ONDCP to tell the scared masses that legalized, un-prohibited weed is good for our children in so many ways.
      What an unbelievable sight. How’s THAT DEA Director Michelle Leonhart? Your local Pediatrician is saying marijuana legalization is “good” for us all? That must be a sour taste in the mouth…

    7. paulv22 says:

      Schroedingers weed?

    8. Miles says:

      @Evening Bud – I’ve confided to my last few doctors that I use marijuana and not a single one so much as suggested that I stop! One of my best friends, a chess buddy, was a retired doctor before he died of a rare cancer, and he was fine with me using it.

      It is only the ignorant and greedy that are keeping us from realizing our goal of ending marijuana prohibition! The people that have done the research or experienced a cannabis buzz for themselves realize the stupidity of prohibition and all the harm it causes.

      I’ve been using for 40 years now and, according to my current doctor, am in near perfect health at age 58. I do have a touch of arthritis (which cannabis helps with) and my cholesterol is a bit higher than perfect but I can’t afford to pay $200/month for Crestor…

    9. Judy says:

      @Julian – I doubt Michelle Leonhart will ever get educated on this subject. She is absolutely convinced that marijuana is just as dangerous as heroin or meth and less dangerous than cocaine or oxycontin…

      And if our dear Nancy Grace was correct about marijuana making users fat, lazy and stupid, I think most of America would think she was using it!

      Fact is that very intelligent and highly motivated people have used it; not the least of which is the genius/scientist/author Carl Sagan.

      As for Kevin Sabet, I think he is not as stupid as people think he is. He is one of those who are among the highly educated but is motivated by greed; he wants all marijuana users to go through his marijuana addition treatment as an alternative to going to jail or prison… What a jerk!

    10. Evening Bud says:

      @ Miles,

      I think most doctors have to know, through their own experiences with patients, that there are far more dangerous drugs out there than pot–alcohol, tobacco & pain pills–you know, the legal ones.