Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AMA Takes 2nd Look at Medical Marijuana

Back when the Legislature was debating whether to adopt a legal medical marijuana program, a frequent argument was that the medical establishment didn't consider marijuana to have medical value -- and in fact the American Medical Association's official position on the issue was that the drug should remain on the list of Schedule I drugs -- those considered to have no medical benefit and to be harmful when used under any circumstances.

However, today the AMA's House of Delegates passed a resolution calling for "marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods."

Here's what an executive summary of the AMA's Council of Science and Public Health concluded:

Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. However, the patchwork of state-based systems that have been established for “medical marijuana” is woefully inadequate in establishing even rudimentary safeguards that normally would be applied to the appropriate clinical use of psychoactive substances. The future of cannabinoid-based medicine lies in the rapidly evolving field of botanical drug substance development, as well as the design of molecules that target various aspects of the endocannabinoid system. To the extent that rescheduling marijuana out of Schedule I will benefit this effort, such a move can be supported.

The executive summary is HERE. The complete report is being submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

This news comes one day after the New Mexico Health Department announced four new licensed marijuana providers for the 755 certified patients in the state program. You can read my story about it, including comments from Santa Fe's latest licensed provider, HERE