Friday, April 21, 2006

FDA's 4-20 announcement on medical use of marijuana

Is 4-20 (April 20) going to replace April Fool's Day (April 1) as a day of absurdities?

The government seems to be taking that approach.

Yesterday FDA issued a statement that it concurs in DEA's determination that marijuana belongs in Schedule I of the schedules of Controlled Substances.

There was no report of an actual review of the scientific literature. No scientist's name was associated with the statement. The FDA statement completely ignored the detailed scientific report by a select panel of highly regarded scientists for the Institute of Medicine of the National Research Council issued in 1999.

The New York Times covered the FDA statement. All of the scientists whose views they reported took issue with the FDA statement. The article concluded,

Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine, said he had "never met a scientist who would say that marijuana is either dangerous or useless."

Studies clearly show that marijuana has some benefits for some patients, Dr. Piomelli said.

"We all agree on that," he said.

The Associated Press story quoted Bruce Mirkin from MPP who nailed the issue,

Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Thursday: "If anybody needed proof that the FDA has become totally politicized, this is it. This isn't a scientific statement; it's a political statement."

Mirken said "a rabid congressional opponent of medical marijuana," Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., asked the FDA to make the statement.

Souder, chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on drug policy, has said the promotion of medical marijuana "is simply a red herring for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Studies have continually rejected the notion that marijuana is suitable for medical use because it adversely impacts concentration and memory, the lungs, motor coordination and the immune system."

The FDA statement noted "there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful." It also said, "There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana."

Mirken responded, "There is abundant evidence that marijuana can help cancer patients, multiple sclerosis patients and AIDS patients. There is no scientific doubt that marijuana relieves nausea, vomiting, certain kinds of pain and other symptoms that don't respond well to conventional drugs, and does it more safely than other drugs.

"For the FDA to ignore all that evidence is embarrassing," Mirken said. "They should be red-faced."

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: