Pubdate: Fri, 21 Apr 2006
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2006 Watertown Daily Times
Author: New York Times
Note: The FDA Statement is at
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


New Fight: Agency contradicts Findings of Scientist On Uses

WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that "no
sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of smoked
marijuana. The statement, which contradicts a 1999 review by top
government scientists, inserts the health agency into yet another
fierce political fight.

Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said Thursday's statement resulted
from a combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and
research agencies that concluded "smoked marijuana has no currently
accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an
approved medical treatment." She said that the FDA was issuing the
statement because of numerous inquiries from Capitol Hill but would
likely do nothing to enforce it.

Eleven states have legalized medicinal use of marijuana, but the Drug
Enforcement Administration and the nation's drug czar, John P.
Walters, have opposed those efforts.

Congressional opponents and supporters of medical marijuana use have
each tried to enlist the FDA to support their views.

The FDA statement contradicts a 1999 review by the Institute of
Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's
most prestigious scientific advisory agency. That review found
marijuana to be "moderately well suited for particular conditions,
such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting."

Dr. John Benson, co-chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee
that examined the research into marijuana's effects, said in an
interview that the FDA statement and the combined review by other
agencies were wrong. The federal government "loves to ignore our
report," said Dr. Benson, "They would rather it never happened."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin