Medical use of marijuana on its way to reality in Washington D.C.

Published on April 22, 2010 at 3:56 AM · No Comments

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

After debate the Washington, D.C., city council has voted unanimously for use of marijuana for medical purposes in patients with “chronic and lasting disease” like HIV, glaucoma, cancer, severe pain, multiple sclerosis etc.

The directive says that these patients may, on recommendation of their physicians possess up to two ounces of marijuana per month. The voting will be repeated in May and if the same approval stands with the support of the Congress, Washington will be the next among the 14 states that have this law approved earlier with California being the first and New Jersey being the most recent.

Diane E. Hoffmann, and Ellen Weber, of the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore wrote in a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Perspective yesterday that, “Although state laws represent a political response to patients seeking relief from debilitating symptoms, they are inadequate to advance effective treatment.”

This law has been approved by some of the states but the federal government still rejects the reclassification of medically used marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance, which would classify the drug as having “both a risk of abuse and accepted medical uses.” At present marijuana is a Schedule I drug along with the likes of heroin, PCP which have “no currently accepted medical use.” American Medical Association also changed its views on the issue last November and calls the federal government to reassess the situation.

They call for more studies on the utility of marijuana in chronically ill patients. The AMA's Council on Science and Public Health also supports the reclassification of marijuana. But their statement came with a warning that this change of views “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.”

Meanwhile 4/20 like always is still observed by marijuana users as their day and this regulation has sparked much excitement among users.

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