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American College of Physicians Position Takes Aim at Marijuana LawsTim King Salem-News.com
They support research into the therapeutic role of marijuana.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The American College of Physicians has released a paper urging the federal government to change its position on the legal aspects of marijuana, which it continues to classify in a category with heroin and LSD.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internists — physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults. This is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. More than 124,000 internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical students, residents, and fellows make up its membership.
The physicians say marijuana has been smoked for its medicinal properties for centuries, and preclinical, clinical, and anecdotal reports suggest numerous potential medical uses for marijuana.
The use of medical marijuana in treating HIV wasting and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting has been well documented, but this large and respected aspect of the medical community says it is a problem that less information is available about other potential medical uses.
The doctors believe additional research is needed to clarify marijuana’s therapeutic properties and determine standard and optimal doses and routes of delivery.
The paper says that opportunities to expand research have been hindered by a complicated federal approval process, limited availability of research-grade marijuana, and the debate over legalization.
"Marijuana’s categorization as a Schedule I controlled substance raises significant concerns for researchers, physicians, and patients," the report says.
The American College of Physicians position is that they support programs and funding for rigorous scientific evaluation of the potential therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and the publication of such findings.
They also want to see increased research for conditions where the efficacy of marijuana has been established to determine optimal dosage and route of delivery.
The physicians believe that medical marijuana research should not only focus on determining drug efficacy and safety but also on determining efficacy in comparison with other available treatments.
Oregon Medical Marijuana Physician Dr. Phil Leveque has stated multiple times that smoke from marijuana can be damaging to the lungs, as any smoke can be. One of the popular alternatives is a "vaporizer" which allows the user to receive the medical properties of cannabis without putting a match to it. The ACP encourages the use of nonsmoked forms of THC that have proven therapeutic value.
They suggest that marijuana’s status as a schedule I controlled substance be changed, and reclassified into a more appropriate schedule, since scientific evidence exists regarding marijuana’s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions.
The ACP paper, written by Tia Taylor, MPH, was developed for the Health and Public Policy Committee of the American College of Physicians. It was approved by the Board of Regents in January 2008.
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