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CD #17: Doctors No Longer in Charge of our Medication – Part 1

By Hempology | April 24, 2008

Doctors No Longer in Charge of our Medication – Part 1
By Veronica Horn

Both Canadian and US politicians have taken over the healthcare system and make the decisions for our well-being, not our doctor. Many physicians are fighting back with the facts. The nation’s largest organization of doctors of internal medicine, The American College of Physicians, with 124,000 members, contends that the lengthy and heated debate over legalization has obscured good science that has demonstrated the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

In a 13-page position paper (Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana) 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.

In the 12 years since California voters approved the nation’s first-ever medical marijuana law, several medical organizations — including the American Nurses Assn. and the American Public Health Assn. — have urged Congress to make cannabis a legal medicine.

The statement in this report commits the ACP to five positions according to Patients Out of Time:
(Quoted from P.O.T. essay)

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

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

2. ACP encourages the use of non-smoked forms of THC that have proven therapeutic value.

3. ACP supports the current process for obtaining federal research-grade cannabis.

4. ACP urges review of marijuana’s status as a schedule 1 controlled substance and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions.

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.

From the perspective of pro-cannabis doctors and patients in California, Position 5 is the best and bravest aspect of the ACP statement. The support for physicians who “prescribe and dispense medical marijuana under state law” could have been written with Marian Fry, MD, in mind. Fry and her husband, attorney Dale Schafer, were convicted under federal law for cultivation for sale (to her patients) and are soon to be sentenced.

Over the past decade the controversies over the legalization of marijuana has provoked debate between advocacy groups and politicians, the terminally ill and lawmakers, and has empowered some States to defy federal laws that classify marijuana as a “Schedule I” drug. Since 1996, thirteen states have passed laws that in effect allow patients to use marijuana for medical purpose; eight of the eleven did so through ballot initiatives (McVay).

The DEA’s publication “Exposing the Myth of Smoked Medical Marijuana” poses questions about marijuana by the DEA with their “factual” responses. Patients Out of Time finds this DEA document to be misleading and biased, containing half-truths and duplicity.

Continued in Cannabis Digest #18

Topics: Articles, CD-17th, Spring 2008 | Comments Off

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