A federal agency is now specifically referring to cannabis as medicine.
According to the Wayback machine, last month the U.S government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – a division of the National Institutes of Health – webpage on cannabis was titled in the form of the following question: Is Marijuana Medicine?.
The question appears to be answered, for this month the U.S. government has changed the title of its web page on cannabis to Marijuana as Medicine.
Although White House press secretary, Sean Spicer said that the Trump administration will increase enforcement of federally illegal recreational use, he reemphasized President Trump’s support of cannabis use for medical purposes.
“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Mr. Spicer said. “Because again, there’s a big difference between the medical use which Congress has, through an appropriations rider in 2014, made very clear what their intent was in terms of how the Department of Justice would handle that issue. That’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice I think will be further looking into.”
Through that rider, to which Mr. Spicer referred, congress can not spend federal funds to interfere with state medical cannabis laws.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s has voiced support for medical cannabis use several times.
“As far as medical marijuana, I would say that’s something we should really consider strongly because people are sick and it does have a huge impact,” Mr. Trump said during an interview with Fox News. “And a lot of people have said it has a huge impact on the pain and the suffering they have to go through. So for medical that’s one thing, but for the rest, I think it should be state-by-state.”
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that he was skeptical about cannabis legalization, he did state recently “states can pass whatever laws they choose.”
Although the federal government has cited findings substantiating cannabis’s use for medical purposes, it never explicitly called cannabis medicine until now.
In 2003, United States Patent Office (USPTO) issued a patent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluding that cannabinoids (chemical compounds in the cannabis plant) could be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and HIV dementia.
The federal government’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) website lists numerous studies finding cannabis as an effective treatment for cancer’s symptoms and side effects of cancer therapies. The NCI cites how cannabinoids kill cancer cells and stop tumors from growing.
NIDA still cites that the FDA has not recognized cannabis as a form of medicine because of the lack of large-scale studies finding the medical benefits of cannabis. Nonetheless, it highlights that two FDA-approved drugs have cannabis in it.
Medical marijuana in some form is legal in 28 states. Eight states have legalized cannabis for recreational use.