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FDA outlaws state-sanctioned medical use of marijuana
www.chinaview.cn 2006-04-22 19:30:36

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its oppositon to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, a decision not only contradicting a 1999 report by medical experts on medicinal use of marijuana for certain conditions, but also overriding state efforts to legalize the plant.
The FDA outlaws the use of marijuana for medical purposes.(file photo)
    BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its oppositon to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, a decision not only contradicting a 1999 report by medical experts on medicinal use of marijuana for certain conditions, but also overriding state efforts to legalize the plant.

    In the statement released on late Thursday, the FDA declares 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 medical use."

    The 1999 report was released by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that marijuana was "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting."

    Currently, 10 states in America have passed legislation allowing the medical use of marijuana. These include Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Arizona also enacted similar legislation, but with no formal program to administer marijuana by prescription.

   "These measures are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA approval process and are proven safe and effective." FDA said.

    Backed by FDA's decision, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) now has the right to enforce federal laws opposing the medical use of marijuana -- even in states that have passed legislation allowing its use.

    Both the DEA and the FDA also enjoy the backing of U.S. Supreme Court. In a 6-3 decision in June 2005, the court ruled that DEA agents were within their rights in 2001 to arrest two California residents  who were using marijuana at the time to help ease their symptoms -- one with brain cancer and the other with severe back pain. 

    Dr. William M. Lamers, a consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America, framed the battle over medical marijuana as a bureaucratic turf war. "It's a matter of states rights versus federal rights," he said. "

    Marijuana has been effective in relieving pain and chemotherapy-related symptons such as nausea and vomiting.

    Marijuana has also been effective in stimulating the appetite of people with AIDS and other conditions that are accompanied with a loss of appetite, Lamers said.Enditem


Editor: Yang Li
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