In a statement
Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the use of smoked
marijuana as a medicine, saying "no sound scientific studies" supported
its use. The FDA's "inter-agency advisory" directly contradicts the
findings of the highly-regarded 1999 National Academy of Science Institute
of Medicine's review of the subject, "Marijuana
FDA spokeswoman Susan Bro
told the New York Times Thursday the agency issued the statement in response
to inquiries from Capitol Hill. Congressional arch-drug warrior Rep.
Mark Souder (R-IN) two years ago filed a bill that would have forced the
FDA to issue an opinion.
Souder is a fervent opponent
of medical marijuana. A Souder spokesman, Martin Green, told the
Times Souder believes medical marijuana is a front to get marijuana legalized.
John Walters, director of
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), is also a medical marijuana
opponent. His spokesman, Tom Riley, said the drug czar hoped the
FDA position statement would put an end to "the bizarre public discussion"
that has led 11 states to legalize and regulate its use.
But "bizarre" might be more
aptly applied to the FDA finding, if the scientists involved with the Institute
of Medicine report are right. It found marijuana "moderately well
suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and
vomiting and AIDS wasting" and potential for more applications.
The Times talked to Dr. John
Benson, who co-chaired the IOM committee that studied medical marijuana.
He said bluntly that the FDA was wrong. The federal government "loves
to ignore our report," said Benson. "They would rather it never happened."
Other scientists were equally
skeptical. "Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the FDA
making pronouncements that seem to be driven more by ideology than by science,"
said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a medical professor at Harvard Medical School.
-- END --
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
PERMISSION to reprint or
redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby
granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and,
where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your
publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks
payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for
materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we
request notification for our records, including physical copies where
material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network,
P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202)
293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank
Articles of a purely
educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet
Foundation, unless otherwise noted.