Pubdate: Fri, 21 Apr 2006
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2005 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Gardiner Harris, New York Times News Service
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that "no
sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of smoked
marijuana, a statement contradicting a 1999 review by top government

Susan Bro, and agency spokeswoman, said the statement resulted from a
combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory, and research
agencies that concluded that "smoked marijuana has no currently
accepted or proven medical use in the United States, and is not an
approved medical treatment."  She said 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 uses of marijuana.  The Drug
Enforcement Administration and the nation's drug czar, John Walters,
have opposed those efforts.

Congressional opponents and supporters of medical marijuana have each
tried to enlist the FDA to support their views.  Rep. Mark E. Souder
(R., Ind.), an opponent of medical marijuana initiatives, proposed
legislation two years ago that would have required the FDA to issue an
opinion on the medicinal properties of the drug.

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

John Benson, cochair 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," Benson
said.  "They would rather it never happened." 
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