The Food and Drug
Administration has announced that it does not support
the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The FDA said in a
statement that it and other agencies with the Health
and Human Services Department had "concluded
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."
A number of
states have passed legislation allowing marijuana use for
medical purposes, but the FDA said, "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
contradicts a 1999 finding from the Institute of Medicine,
part of the National Academy of Sciences, which reported
that "marijuana's active components are
potentially effective in treating pain, nausea, the
anorexia of AIDS wasting, and other symptoms, and
should be tested rigorously in clinical trials."
director of communications for the Marijuana Policy
Project, said Thursday: "If anybody needed proof that
the FDA has become totally politicized, this is it.
This isn't a scientific statement; it's
a political statement."
"a rabid congressional opponent of medical
marijuana," Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana
Republican, asked the FDA to make the statement.
of the House Government Reform subcommittee on drug
policy, has said the promotion of medical marijuana
"is simply a red herring for the legalization
of marijuana for recreational use. Studies have
continually rejected the notion that marijuana is suitable
for medical use because it adversely impacts
concentration and memory, the lungs, motor
coordination, and the immune system."
The FDA statement
noted "there is currently sound evidence that smoked
marijuana is harmful." It also said, "There
are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence
for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked
"There is abundant evidence that marijuana can help
cancer patients, multiple sclerosis patients, and AIDS
patients. There is no scientific doubt that marijuana
relieves nausea, vomiting, certain kinds of pain, and
other symptoms that don't respond well to
conventional drugs, and does it more safely than other
FDA to ignore all that evidence is embarrassing,"
Mirken said. "They should be red-faced."