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Feature: Future Doctors Support Medical Marijuana

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #541)
Drug War Issues

The Medical Student Section (MSS) of the American Medical Association (AMA) overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution urging the AMA to support the reclassification of marijuana for medical use at the AMA's annual conference in Chicago earlier this month. The resolution will now go before the AMA House of Delegates for a final vote at its interim meeting in November.

After a lengthy series of whereases detailing scientific support for therapeutic uses of cannabis, the MSS resolved that:

  • RESOLVED, That our AMA support reclassification of marijuana's status as a Schedule I controlled substance into a more appropriate schedule; and be it further

  • RESOLVED, That this resolution be forwarded to the House of Delegates at I-08.

Sunil Aggarwal and Tapoja Chaudhuri, Wrigley Building in Chicago, near conference site
With some 50,000 members, the MSS is the largest and most influential organization of medical students in the US. The other major medical student group in the county, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), which split from the AMA in the heady days of the 1960s to pursue a more socially activist agenda, endorsed rescheduling marijuana in 1993 and added its own resolution endorsing clinical research on medical marijuana in 1999. (AMSA claims 68,000 members, but also includes pre-med students.)

Those two organizations join a growing list of medical groupings supporting medical marijuana, including the AIDS Action Council, the Alaska Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the American Preventive Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, the California Academy of Family Physicians, the California Medical Association, the California Pharmacists Association, the Connecticut Nurses Association, Cure AIDS Now, the Florida Medical Association, the Los Angeles County AIDS Commission, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the National Association for Public Health Policy, the National Association of People with AIDS, the National Nurses Society on Addictions, the New England Journal of Medicine, the New Mexico Medical Society, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the San Francisco Medical Society, the Virginia Nurses Society on Addictions, the Wisconsin Public Health Association, and state nurses associations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the medical marijuana education and advocacy group Patients Out of Time.

The most recent addition to that list was the American College of Physicians (ACP), which adopted a resolution called for rescheduling of marijuana and an expansion of research into its medical efficacy in February. With 124,000 members, the ACP is the country's second largest physician group, second only to the AMA.

But the AMA remains recalcitrant. Its most recent recommendation on medical marijuana, adopted in 2001, calls for further study, but urges that marijuana remain at Schedule 1 pending the outcome of those studies. The resolution passed by the MSS is designed to prod the organization forward.

The MSS may have some clout, but it can't do it alone, said Sunil Aggarwal, a University of Washington medical student who championed the resolution in Chicago. "If it's just us, we lose," he said. "Between now and November, we'll be trying to get different organizations within the AMA to stand with us. We'll be going after the state medical societies in all the medical marijuana states, and we'll be building alliances with groups that are our allies, like the ACP," he strategized. "We have to be careful, though. There are some forces that would like to quash us, like the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Even though they're a relatively new organization, everyone tends to defer to them on matters of addiction and substance abuse. If they say no, the AMA might get cold feet."

Medical marijuana advocates were pleased at the news. "This is a positive and necessary step in the right direction," said Dr. David Ostrow, a member of the AMA and Chair of the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy organization. "We are hopeful that the full house of delegates will follow the example set by the American College of Physicians earlier this year and vote to support this resolution, thereby placing the needs and safety of our patients above politics."

Whether the battle is won this year or not, Aggarwal and his colleagues are the wave of the future, he said. "The two organizations that represent medical students nationally have now both called for the reclassification of marijuana," he said. "We're the future doctors of America. These are the people who are going to be the leaders in American medicine, and now they are officially supporting medical marijuana," he said. "This is a big milestone."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

There is hope for the world. When a ubiquitous plant, with the elite status of being one of the most complicated plants in the Plant Kingdom (THC) is criminalized mostly worldwide, it only confirms for the future generations of Humanity, that the 20th and 21st Centurys will be viewed as the most Tryannical times in all of Human History!
And the kids are picking up on this and starting to do something about it!

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 12:21pm Permalink
Right Reverend… (not verified)

Too true folks. Everybody wants a study but it really never seems to happen. How come! Because it really works is the amazing conclusion by this poster. The cattle ranchers want to keep us all penned up, it seems to me, so that they can all be well fed off of us. Simple if you think about it. It is all nice and good that the 'students' want reform. But the voice of reform has been going on for a long time. Why the recalcitrance? Could it be satan?

Do a search "Run from the Cure the Rick Simpson story". Or, go to There is a radio interview of Rick Simpson on the Universal Orthodox website. There is a cure for ignorance and cancer.

In Revelation, "and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations and there shall be no more curse," xxii. 2, 3.

In Jesus Anointed (with marijuana) who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 12:26pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

With the AMA's future docs encouraging the current docs to support reclassification of marijuana’s status, it's just a matter of time before the crusty/resistant to change part of the AMA flakes off & sanity is restored to medicine (it's amazing how much of the AMA is still spellbound by misinformation & "reefer madness"...0 DEATHS IN THOUSANDS OF YEARS FAR SURPASSES MOST MEDICINE IN THE SAFETY CATEGORY, AND CANNABIS HAS BEEN MEDICINALLY BENEFICIAL TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. WHAT PART OF THIS DOES THE AMA NOT GET?).

That said, THANK YOU to the new generation of docs for doing their homework on medical cannabis and for not being pawns of the pharmaceutical industry.

Regarding the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the following statement would SEEM to indicate that they do indeed support the "controlled use" of medical marijuana "under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician," though I cannot speak for the ASAM:

"Approved medical uses for marijuana or [THC] for treatment of glaucoma, illnesses associated with wasting such as AIDS, the emesis associated with chemotherapy, or other uses should be carefully controlled. The drug should be administered only under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician."

Reference: ASAM "Statement on Marijuana," passed by ASAM Board of Directors: April 16, 1997

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 7:42pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

"Approved medical uses for marijuana or [THC] for treatment of glaucoma, illnesses associated with wasting such as AIDS, the emesis associated with chemotherapy, or other uses should be carefully controlled. The drug should be administered only under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician."

or else what? they might die? more likely they might gain weight from exessive munchies, but then , would that really be a problem for an aids patient with 'wasting sickness"

and STILL no one even ACKNOWLEDGES the fact that drug that can actually result in OD death, alcohol, is freely available with out a precription!!! I still havent even learned what the bogus "official" explanation as to why alcohol is noteduled AT ALL, on ANY TIER, or if, as i begin to fear, they never said and no one has ever brought it up in the public arena?

Mon, 06/30/2008 - 6:34pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Here's a great link on some of the research that exists on cannabis' anti-cancer effect, including an amazing time-lapse video demonstrating THC killing brain cancer cells, but NOT killing normal brain cells:

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 8:03pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The Green Prophet, Khizr:Islam's Patron Saint of Cannabis

To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so gracious an herb as hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance and to large bands of worshipped ascetics, deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences, and whose mightly power makes the devotee of the Victorious, overcoming the demons of hunger and thirst, of panic, fear, of the glamour of Maya or matter, and of madness, able in rest to brood on the Eternal, till the Eternal,possessing him body and soul, frees him from the haunting of self and receives him into the Ocean of Being. These beliefs the Musalman devotee shares to the full. Like his Hindu brother, the Musalman fakir reveres bhang as the lengthener of life, the freer from the bonds of self. Bhang brings union with the Divine spirit. "We drank bhang and the mystery I am he grew plain. So grand a result, so tiny a sin."

"In his devotion to bhang, with reverence, not with the worship, which is due to Allah alone, the North Indian Mussulman joins hynming to the praise of bhang. To the follower of the later religion of Islam the holy spirit in bhang is not the spirit of the Almighty, it is the spirit of the great prophet Khizr, or Elijah. That bhang should be sacred to Khizr is natural; Khizr is the patron saint of water. Still more, Khizr means green, the revered color of the cooling water of bhang. So the Urdu poet sings, "When I quaff fresh bhang I liken its color to the fresh light down of thy youthful beard." The prophet Khizr, the green prophet, cries, "May the drink be pleasing to thee." Nasir, the great North Indian Urdu poet, is loud in praises o his beloved Sabzi, 'the Green One.'

Compared with bhang spirits are naught. Leave all things thou fool, drink bhang.

From its quickening the imagination, Mussulman poets honor bhang with the title Waraq al-Khayal, 'Fancy's Leaf.' And the Makhazan or great Arab-Greek drug book records many other fond names for the drug. Bhang is the Joy-Giver, the Sky-Flier, the Heavenly-Guide, the Poor Man's Heaven, the Soother of Grief."
Ecoavila go your own way

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 9:25pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

has anyone seen super high me yet? its a documentary about this stoner comedian (i forget his name) who while watching supersize me while stoned got the idea to do a similar experiment with pot. so first he goes without weed for 30 days then he gets his med mar id card in la and smokes all day every day for the next 30, all the while running medical tests, iq tests(even a psychic ability test) and, u may have seen this coming, scored better on all the intellectual tests while smoking and there was no noticible change physicaly, he was in good health the whole time. so this shows that while mickey d's can kill u in a month and a half, weed is still harmless!=) And throughout the flick, he has some of his stand up intersperssed, ostensibly to see if he is still funny sober, but also to make the film more entertaining. the best comedy part is when he does a fake pot survey of the audience, he asks a guy, "do you smoke pot?" and when the guys says yes, he goes 'welcome to the majority" =) and then a couple of his comedian friends come on stage acting like cops or dea guys and they start with the obligatory "so u think pot is FUN!?! getting a little HIGH!?! well pot is the greatest killer on the planet!!! u see this(he holds up a nikel worth of pot, less than a gram)this is a POUND of reefer!! $10,000,000 street value!!" then he starts saying things like,"u know what causes aids?" and his partner deadpands 'marijuana', "cancer?", 'marijuana!', "terrorism?", 'marijuana!' I laughed and laughed because, while slighlty exagerated, i could just SEE the drug czar, or some DARE cop saying things like that. and they LOVE to over estimate the amount and value of any drugs the stumble acrross.

Mon, 06/30/2008 - 6:22pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"Marijuana leads to homosexuality ... and therefore to AIDS." -- Carlton Turner - Former Drug Czar (Reagan)

And from 1937, here's one of my favorite pieces of "Reefer Madness":

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

-- Harry J. Anslinger, America’s 1st drug Czar (FDR – JFK), from 1937 testimony to Congress in support of the Marijuana Tax Act.

Thu, 07/03/2008 - 5:02am Permalink
Malkavian (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

This quote runs like wildfire and it's almost gotten urban legend status. I browsed the Shaffer Drug Library and couldn't find Anslinger saying this in the 1937 testimonies on the website. I contacted Shaffer and he told me that the quote is most likely mis-attributed to Anslinger.

If anyone actually tracks down the quote to Anslinger and can point to the testimony, then please spread the word :)

Part of its longevity is probably due to the fact that it so easily could be true, and I'm betting a lot of his contemporaries said stuff a lot worse than this.

Mon, 07/07/2008 - 3:06pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

EVEN IF THIS QUOTE wasn't used by Harry J Anslinger ( Cheif liar, theif and criminal of the highest count ) in congress, it was clearly stated and implied in the bogus propaganda movie 'REEFER MADNESS' which Anslinger used to strike fear in America and outlaw hemp and marijuana so Dupont Chemical could sell us all plastic and a chemcial based future rather than a future of natural and safe alternatives from hemp and cannabis.

I pray for an end to the discrimination of God's people who enjoy the sacred healing plant cannabis known by many names.

Rev. Hunt

Wed, 07/09/2008 - 12:23pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have never heard of marijuana killing anyone. Alcohol doesnt just kill you by poisoning you, it makes other people kill each other out of depression and madness.... marijuana kind of makes you slow down and think a bit. if a marijuana bill is passed, it would cut down on alot of drug related crimes while also, weeding out the real drug users and then we can punish crack and heroine users more harshly. there is no reason at all why i cant smoke a joint on my own time, not bothering anyone at all also not even driving, (even if it just makes you more paranoid and you eventually drive better)... Ive had major depression, both my parents passed away and i dont know what i would have done without weed.... now im about to go into th medical feild and i dont smoke right now but im not going through any kind of withdrawl because hey, THERE IS NONE!!!

Fri, 08/01/2008 - 10:35pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

WTF your a cannabis using former deppressive, going into medicine and you talk like that, compassion you little man,Education
i agreed with almost evry thing you said though, cannabis to my experience assists in detox and withdrawal from opiates, alcohol, and tobacco, you'd probably call this anecdotal being a establishment boy, Fucken Fascist get real

Mon, 08/04/2008 - 7:10am Permalink

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