NORML Responds To National Academy of Sciences’ Marijuana Report

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a comprehensive report today acknowledging that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, and sharply criticized longstanding federal regulatory barriers to marijuana research – in particular “the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance” under federal law.

Authors of the report also addressed various aspects of marijuana’s effect on health and safety, acknowledging that the substance may pose certain potential risks for adolescents, pregnant women, and for those who may be driving shortly after ingesting cannabis. In each of these cases, these risks may be mitigated via marijuana regulation and the imposition of age restrictions in the marketplace.

Commenting on the report, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said:

“The National Academy of Science’s conclusions that marijuana possesses established therapeutic utility for certain patients and that it possesses an acceptable safety profile when compared to those of other medications or recreational intoxicants are not surprising. This evidence has been available for some time, yet for decades marijuana policy in this country has largely been driven by rhetoric and emotion, not science and evidence.

“A search on PubMed, the repository for all peer-reviewed scientific papers, using the term ‘marijuana’ yields over 24,000 scientific papers referencing the plant or its biologically active constituents — a far greater body of literature than exists for commonly consumed conventional drugs like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or hydrocodone. Further, unlike modern pharmaceuticals, cannabis possesses an extensive history of human use dating back thousands of years, thus providing society with ample empirical evidence as to its relative safety and efficacy.

“Today, 29 states and Washington, DC permit physicians to recommend marijuana therapy. Some of these state-sanctioned programs have now been in place for nearly two decades. Eight states also permit the regulated use and sale of cannabis by adults. At a minimum, we know enough about cannabis, as well as the failures of cannabis prohibition, to regulate its consumption by adults, end its longstanding criminalization, and to remove it from its Schedule I prohibitive under federal law.”

The report marks the first time since 1999 that the National Academy of Sciences has addressed issues surrounding marijuana and health. Authors reviewed over 10,000 scientific abstracts in their preparation of the new report.

You can read the full report here.

How Rescheduling Could Have Changed Cannabis Marketing

By Celeste Miranda

COLORADO: The DEA schedules substances, chemicals and drugs into 5 classified categories. Between Schedule 1 to 5 the level of potential for abuse gets more likely as the number goes down, so Schedule 1 is listed as the most dangerous for the public and Schedule 5 the least.  A Schedule 1 drug has been identified by the government as a substance with no potential for medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. Aside from cannabis schedule I also includes ecstasy, peyote and heroin. This DEA scheduling makes cannabis highly illegal to carry without the proper permits and also bars any scientific research on the medicinal value of the plant.

For the last couple of months the DEA has been pushing back their announcement on rescheduling cannabis to Schedule II. Last week they announced that cannabis would remain Schedule 1 which has equally angered and saddened the cannabis community. Not only does this continue the war on patients that has been raging across the country, but the negative effects of federal restrictions are more severe than cocaine and oxycodone blanket every aspect of the plant from research to marketing.

Real scientific research feeds an educational marketing platform.  One of the biggest problems that cannabis has faced is a lack of scientific research. Being classified as Schedule I, any relevant scientific research outside of cannabis that comes from a sterile government garden and is carried out by only a few government approved scientists. The ability to prove that the plant has medicinal value and move past a Schedule I classification is being blocked by that same classification. If and when the feds finally reschedule cannabis we will be able to partake in valuable research that will only fuel marketing efforts. If all of the research analysts that have been dying to get well grown hydroponic, outdoor and aeroponic cannabis into their laboratories were finally able to, there would be a bounty of research to fuel new content that will bring in an entirely untapped target demographic. Educational based platforms are the only way to ensure that no target client is left out of a marketing campaign and currently the cannabis education is mostly just conjecture or experiential. With real, hard data proving the medicinal value of cannabis the entire industry could change.