The American Academy of Pediatrics believes the time has come for the federal government to reclassify marijuana in order to facilitate research. In a recent policy statement, the national committee on substance abuse said that while they do not support medical marijuana outside the regulatory confines of the United States Food and Drug Administration, they do recommend the government downgrade the Schedule I classification of the herb, so that science can begin to properly explore its health potential.
Although the health society is adamant that it does not support the concept of medical marijuana as 23 states and the District of Columbia have come to understand it, they are recommending the Drug Enforcement Administration downgrade the classification of cannabis to a Schedule II controlled substance because they realize “cannabinoid administration” may be the only effective recourse for children suffering from debilitating or life-threatening conditions.
“A Schedule 1 listing means there’s no medical use or helpful indications, but we know that’s not true because there has been limited evidence showing [marijuana] may be helpful for certain conditions in adults,” Dr. Seth Ammerman, a co-author of the study, told The Wall Street Journal.
“By placing this on Schedule 2, it would allow the FDA to be involved [in pediatric research] as the agency is in any study,” he continued. “Unless scheduling changes, this won’t happen. And there could be therapeutic benefits. The AAP is not opposed to medical marijuana, per se, but we feel it’s important that this be explored within the [framework of the] FDA process, where you have standardization.”
Perhaps the most common disease discussed in relation to children and marijuana is Epilepsy. In early 2014, the Epilepsy Foundation released a similar statement calling for the DEA to reconsider the Schedule I classification of marijuana in order to promote research. Yet, even though more states have legalized the herb for the sole purpose of treating epileptic children, the Obama Administration has done nothing to initiate any level of reform to the Controlled Substances Act.
In the meantime, the federal government has allowed GW Pharmaceuticals to conduct clinical trials in the United States with their cannabis-based epilepsy drug Epidiolex, bringing attention to corporate corruption that stands in the way of a nationwide medical marijuana program. Once the FDA puts its final stamp of approval on this medicine, which is expected, the DEA will simply classify it a Schedule II or III substance in order to bring it to market.
The AAP statement also recommends that marijuana be decriminalized across the nation, and “encourages pediatricians to advocate for laws that prevent harsh criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana.”