A FEW WORDS FROM THE FDA AND NIH Ironically on April 20, 2006 the FDA made a press release stating: “Marijuana is listed in sched-ule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule.The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which administers the CSA, continues to support that placement and FDA concurred because marijuana met the three criteria for placement in Schedule I under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1) (e.g., marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no cur-rently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision).Furthermore, there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evalu-ation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medi- cal use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana.”What is interesting is that wording is careful to only specify “smoked” marijuana. Devicesare now available called vaporizers. Vaporizers do not use fire for the combustion (burning)of marijuana. Instead, they use heat to vaporize the medicinal materials without causing the formation of carcinogens. Studies have unequivocally confirmed the effectiveness and safety of vaporization.• Hazekamp, Arno, et al. 2005. Evaluation of a vaporizing device (VolcanoR) for the pulmonary administration of tetrahydrocannabinol. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 95: 1308- 1317. It is also noteworthy that the FDA statement mentions the National Institute of Health. Apparently, there is no sound evidence that marijuana has therapeutic potential, but abundant research to support its harmful side effects. One would have to question the validity of the sci- ence that supports these potential harms if they were performed by the National Institute of Health, as this government funded organization published research proving that the psychoac- tive com-ponent of marijuana, THC, has a greater antioxidant capacity than both vitamins A and E. These findings occurred eight years prior to the FDA statement that no valid scientific research sup-ports medical marijuana!• Hampson, AJ, et al. 1998. Cannabidiol and (-)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science 95: 8268-8273.
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