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DEA Chief Denies Medical Efficacy of Cannabis

DEA Chief Denies Medical Efficacy of Cannabis

Just a few short months ago, the acting chief administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Chuck Rosenberg, shocked the American people by admitting that heroin is obviously more dangerous than cannabis — something his predecessor of eight years, Michele Leonhart (who resigned following a sex party scandal), refused to acknowledge.

Now, however, much to the dismay of those who thought the acting chief was perhaps turning over a new leaf for the DEA, Rosenberg has declared that the medicinal use of marijuana is in fact a ‘joke’ and that it “never has been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

All anecdotal and scientific evidence aside, perhaps Rosenberg does not realize that the US government holds a patent regarding marijuana as medicine.

As the American people continue to demand that federal marijuana laws be reformed, Rosenberg indicates that people should not fuse the arguments of legalizing recreational marijuana with medicinal marijuana.

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not,”

Rosenberg said in a briefing to reporters.

“We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”

As a result of this recent statement from Rosenberg, more than 8,000 Americans (and growing) are petitioning for his resignation (click here to find the petition).

As it stands, 23 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation allowing patients the opportunity to legally utilize the medicinal value and efficacy of cannabis. In addition, 17 states have approved “CBD-only” laws, meaning that qualifying patients are permitted to consume low-THC, high-CBD cannabis concentrates (most often in the form of oil).

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis which has gained national recognition for it’s powerful efficacy in the treatment of conditions like epilepsy, pain, cancer, arthritis and more. Experts argue, however, that all cannabinoids working together in a process called the entourage effect provide significantly more medicinal value than single cannabinoid therapies, so CBD-only legislation is not widely supported.

Nearly 80 percent of states have approved the use of medical marijuana, yet it will continue to be illegal under federal law as long as the plant remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Those classified as Schedule I substances, like heroin, are defined as having no recognized medicinal value in the United States. Recognizing that cannabis does not deserve such a classification, Sen. Bernie Sanders recently introduced legislation that would strike cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thereby unscheduling it, and ending federal prohibition.

chuck rosenberg dea

Adult Use of Cannabis Doubles in 12 Years

Adult Use of Cannabis Doubles in 12 Years

A survey released by JAMA Psychiatry on October 21 revealed that the number of American adults who admit to using cannabis has doubled between 2001 and 2013. In 2001, only four percent of adults admitted to using cannabis. Twelve years later, in 2013, the number had increased to nearly 10 percent. Concluded the survey:

“The prevalence of marijuana use more than doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.”

Many media outlets have noted that increased use coincided with a more lenient attitude toward cannabis on the part of American adults and an increased willingness to legalize the herb. The most recent survey from Gallup regarding Americans’ acceptance of cannabis reveals that 58 percent support full legalization of the plant and the many medical and recreational products that can be produced from it. This is a significant shift. The latest polling numbers reveal that the nation has gone from a minority (48 percent) supporting cannabis legalization in 2013 to a majority supporting it only two years later.

adult-use-of-cannabis-doubles-in-12-years-1

In 2002, at the beginning of the period covered by the JAMA study, only one-third of Americans favored legalization of cannabis, according to the Gallup numbers. Many speculate that the successful examples of legalization set forth by states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon — and the resulting media attention devoted to these “experiments” — has begun to educate average citizens and has brought the topic into the mainstream. The JAMA Psychiatry figures obviously don’t account for this additional increase during the past two years.

As additional states come online and Canada screams its intent to the international community to legalize recreational cannabis within its borders, the topic of marijuana and its prohibition will become increasingly common in the media and on the minds of average consumers. This will encourage many to investigate the topic to learn the facts. Of these, many will conclude that cannabis is a safe and therapeutic herb that is considerably better than alcohol and opiates.

Increased use of cannabis and the economic and public health success of states like Oregon and Washington will continue to educate average Americans of the relative benefits of cannabis use, especially when compared to alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs and their negative, often life-threatening side effects.

Photo credit: Drug Policy Alliance

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