The continued push in the USA for marijuana to be legalised ‘for medicinal purposes’ has resulted in many States allowing the substance to be sold in so-called ‘marijuana dispensaries’. However closer investigation has shown the majority of people purchasing the substance are not those with serious and even terminal illnesses, but existing drug users wanting to justify their purchase and use. They are able to get co-operative doctors to sign a form saying that they need to use marijuana to help with ‘back pain or headaches’ or similar trivial illnesses. The item below shows that as far back as l989 it was shown that for genuinely ill patients a pharmaceutically prepared drug called Marinol (or Nabilone) could be legally prescribed by a doctor if it was shown to be helpful – without the many drawbacks to smoking crude marijuana. There is now a pharmaceutically prepared medicine made from extracts of marijuana called Sativex and there is therefore no need for anyone to smoke marijuana for medicine.
Rescheduling of Marijuana Denied (1989)
During the late 1980s, as a proposed solution to the enormous drug problem in the United States, a small, but vocal minority began supporting the wholesale legalization of drugs, particularly marijuana. However, in December 1989, DEA Administrator Jack Lawn overruled the decision of one administrative law judge who had agreed with marijuana advocates that marijuana should be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. This proposed rescheduling of marijuana would have allowed physicians to prescribe the smoking of marijuana as a legal treatment for some forms of illness.
Administrator Lawn maintained that there was no medicinal benefit to smoking marijuana. While some believed that smoking marijuana alleviated vomiting and nausea experienced by cancer patients undergoing radiation, scientific studies indicated otherwise. These also showed that smoking marijuana did not benefit patients suffering from glaucoma or multiple sclerosis. In addition, it was found that smoking marijuana might further weaken the immune systems of patients undergoing radiation and might speed up, rather than slow down, the loss of eyesight in glaucoma patients. It was found that pure Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of 400 chemicals commonly found in marijuana, had some effect on controlling nausea and vomiting. However, pure THC was already available for use by the medical community in a capsule form called Marinol. For these reasons, and the fact that no valid scientific studies offered proof of any medicinal value of marijuana, Administrator Lawn maintained that marijuana should remain a Schedule I controlled substance.