Now Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"
"Our AMA urges that 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. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."
Lisa Lecas from the AMA Media Relations department sent a Nov. 12, 2009 email to ProCon.org with the following statement explaining the policy change:
"To help facilitate scientific research and the development of cannabionoid-based medicines, the AMA adopted new policy urging the federal government to review marijuana's status as a Schedule I substance. Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis.
Federal drug approval is achieved after appropriate scientific and regulatory review to establish safety and efficacy. The limited nature of rigorous scientific studies on the therapeutic use of cannabis is insufficient to satisfy the current standards for a prescription drug product."
Edward Langston, MD, Board Member of the American Medical Association, Nov. 12, 2009
[Editor's Note: The AMA had previously been listed as Con based upon the policy below adopted in June 2001 and reconfirmed in Nov. 2008, which recommended that the federal government keep marijuana as a Schedule I drug.]
"The following statement, recommended by the Council on Scientific Affairs, was adopted by the AMA House of Delegates as AMA Policy at the 2001 AMA Annual Meeting:
The AMA calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy and the application of such results to the understanding and treatment of disease.
The AMA recommends that marijuana be retained in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act pending the outcome of such studies.
The AMA urges the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to implement administrative procedures to facilitate grant applications and the conduct of well-designed clinical research into the medical utility of marijuana. This effort should include: a) disseminating specific information for researchers on the development of safeguards for marijuana, clinical research protocols and the development of a model for informed consent on marijuana for institutional review board evaluation; b) sufficient funding to support such clinical research and access for qualified investigators to adequate supplies of marijuana for clinical research purposes; c) confirming that marijuana of various and consistent strengths and/or placebo will be supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to investigators registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency who are conducting bona fide clinical research studies that receive Food and Drug Administration approval, regardless of whether or not the NIH is the primary source of grant support.
The AMA believes that the NIH should use its resources and influence to support the development of a smoke-free inhaled delivery system for marijuana or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to reduce the health hazards associated with the combustion and inhalation of marijuana.
The AMA believes that effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions."
AMA Policy H-95.952, amended June 2001 and reconfirmed as of the close of the AMA's Interim Meeting in Nov. 2008