Marijuana has become a modern crusade for some, with medical marijuana rights and a growing number of advocates for the free use of the substance across the nation gaining traction. To certain lawmakers and drug enforcement advocacy groups, it’s the proverbial thorn in their side that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Further adding to the debate, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its policy on marijuana, with its main concerns targeted toward marijuana usage among adolescents. The AAP advocates that pediatricians should be extremely conservative with prescribing marijuana to teen patients, except in the case of debilitating conditions; they are also calling for the removal of marijuana from the federal Schedule I drug classification. However, they advise against legalization. The AAP’s stance is cautiously optimistic, with the potential to help many people throughout the nation. Similarly, the effects of removing marijuana from Schedule I could potentially lead to the legalization of marijuana in the United States by increasing research and reducing stigma.
Because marijuana is classified as Schedule I — meaning there’s no accepted medical use and it has high potential for abuse — there has been very little research done on its effects. This fact is specifically cited in the AAP’s report as the leading contributor to the medical community’s ambiguity on the substance’s benefits. The reason why there hasn’t been sufficient research on marijuana doesn’t have to do with the medical community, but rather the federal government’s refusal to remove marijuana from the Schedule I substance list, created as part of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Under this legislation, which was the forerunner of Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” Schedule I substances are “the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Schedule I includes dangerously addictive drugs such as LSD, heroin and ecstasy.
While to some it may seem laughable that marijuana is regarded in the same light as hard drugs by the federal government, it’s a serious concern for patients across the country who are waiting with bated breath for any new research on marijuana that could be potentially beneficial for a litany of different medical concerns. On a smaller scale, more research could also be constructive for our …Read More