Article by Amanda Reiman, AlterNet
On Thursday the National Academy of Sciences released a comprehensive review of research on marijuana and concluded that marijuana does indeed have medical value.
The review concluded: “One of the therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoids is to treat chronic pain in adults. The committee found evidence to support that patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids were more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain symptoms. For adults with multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, there was substantial evidence that short-term use of certain “oral cannabinoids”—man-made, cannabinoid-based medications that are orally ingested—improved their reported symptoms. Furthermore, in adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, there was conclusive evidence that certain oral cannabinoids were effective in preventing and treating those ailments.”
This is not the first time that the scientific community has made claims about marijuana as medicine.
The La Guardia report was commissioned by then-Mayor of New York Fiorello La Guardia in response to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the Feds’ first attempt at controlling marijuana use in the general public. The report confirmed what La Guardia suspected, that the effects of marijuana did not impact a person’s sensibilities or ability to make good decisions and that it likely was not as dangerous as Anslinger and his buddies were making it out to be with their Reefer Madness campaign.
The next scientific assessment of marijuana was commissioned by Richard Nixon in the early 1970’s. The passage of the Controlled Substances Act created drug schedules, a system for classifying drugs based on their medical value and dangerousness. Nixon commissioned the Shafer Report to study the effects of marijuana and make a recommendation as to what the appropriate schedule might be. The report concluded, “Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem. The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug.” Nixon disregarded the report and marijuana remained a schedule I drug.