Pubdate: Fri, 03 Oct 2014
Source: Florida Today (Melbourne, FL)
Copyright: 2014 Florida Today
Author: Paul Armentano


The objections raised by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Dr. 
Stephanie Haridopolos in the recent FLORIDA TODAY article, "Brevard 
sheriff, physician: 'No' to medical marijuana," are primarily 
political in nature.

The available science in regard to the safety and therapeutic 
efficacy of cannabis is clear.

Cannabis possesses an extensive history of human use dating back 
thousands of years, thus providing us with ample empirical evidence 
as to the plant's relative safety and efficacy. The marijuana plant 
is one of the most studied biologically active substances of modern 
times. A search on PubMed, the repository for all peer-reviewed 
scientific papers, using the term "marijuana," yields nearly 20,000 
scientific papers referencing the plant and/or its constituents, 
nearly half of which have been published within the past decade.

Among this extensive body of literature are well over 100 randomized 
controlled studies, involving thousands of subjects, evaluating the 
safety and efficacy of cannabis or individual cannabinoids.

A recent review of several clinical trials assessing cannabis, 
published in The Open Neurology, concludes, "Based on evidence 
currently available, the Schedule I classification (for cannabis) is 
not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, 
or that information on safety is lacking."

At a minimum, we know enough about cannabis to allow for physicians 
to recommend it as a potential therapy for their patients. Further, 
we also know enough about the failures of cannabis prohibition to 
cease arresting adults who consume it responsibly.

Paul Armentano, Deputy director, National Organization for the Reform 
of Marijuana Laws Washington, D.C
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