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HHS' Marijuana Follies
What are they smoking at HHS? A week after issuing a sixth delay in deciding a Request for Reconsideration of a Data Quality petition seeking correction of the Departmentís statements claiming that marijuana has no medical utility, FDA issued an Inter-Agency Advisory stating that several HHS agencies have already "concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States."

Not only does the Advisory contradict HHSí repeated assertions that they "require additional time to coordinate Agency review" of the appeal by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) which challenged the Departmentís statements on medical marijuana, the Advisory is also factually incorrect. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a study in 1999 that found marijuana to be "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting."

FDA does not explain how they can claim there are no scientifically sound studies supporting the medical use of marijuana when the governmentís primary scientific advisor on medical issues has already published just such a study.

The co-chairman of the IOM study was quoted in The New York Times as stating that both the FDA Advisory and the multi-agency HHS review were wrong. He also noted that the federal government "loves to ignore our report." The article goes on to quote a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine who said he had "never met a scientist who would say that marijuana is either dangerous or useless."

HHS should not be squandering its credibility on ill-conceived nonsense such as the FDAís Inter-Agency Advisory and the Departmentís continued refusal to act on the ASA Data Quality petition.

  • Click here for FDA Inter-Agency Advisory
  • Click here for New York Times article on FDA Advisory
  • Click here for Americans for Safe Access website
  • Click here for Institute of Medicine study, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base"

     

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