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Patient advocates file brief in federal case to reclassify cannabis

Posted on January 26th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

medical marijuanaThe country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed an appeal brief Jan. 26 in the DC Circuit to compel the federal government to reclassify cannabis for medical use. In July 2011, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied a petition filed in 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC). The petition was denied only after the coalition sued the government for unreasonable delay. The ASA brief is an appeal of the rescheduling denial.

"By ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence that clearly shows the therapeutic value of marijuana, the Obama administration is playing politics at the expense of sick and dying Americans," said ASA chief counsel Joe Elford. "For the first time in more than 15 years we will be able to present evidence in court to challenge the government's flawed position on medical marijuana."

Although two other rescheduling petitions have been filed since the establishment of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the merits of medical efficacy were reviewed only once by the courts in 1994.

The ASA appeal brief asserts that the federal government acted arbitrarily and capriciously in its efforts to deny cannabis to millions of patients throughout the United States. ASA argues in the brief that the DEA has no "license to apply different criteria to marijuana than to other drugs, ignore critical scientific data, misrepresent social science research, or rely upon unsubstantiated assumptions, as the DEA has done in this case." ASA is urging the court to "require the DEA to analyze the scientific data evenhandedly," and order "a hearing and findings based on the scientific record."

Patient advocates argue that by failing to reclassify marijuana, the federal government has stifled meaningful research into a wide array of therapeutic uses, inclduing pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea suppression, and spasticity control. In 1988, the government ignored the ruling of its own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young who said that, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

Since the CRC petition was filed in 2002, an even greater number of studies have been published that show the medical benefits of cannabis for disorders such as neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's. Recent studies even show that cannabis may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Last year, the National Cancer Institute, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, added cannabis to its list of Complementary Alternative Medicines, pointing out that it's been therapeutically used for millennia. The ASA appeal asserts that scientific evidence that was discovered or studied after 2002 is relevant and must be considered.

Graphic by Herbal Remedies 

 

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Breakthrough seen on cannabis anti-cancer properties

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A  pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from cannabis could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever.

"It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited," Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists behind the discovery, told Huffington Post Sept. 19. "We want to get started with trials as soon as possible."

Desprez, a molecular biologist, spent decades studying ID-1, the gene that causes cancer to spread. Meanwhile, fellow researcher Sean McAllister was studying the effects of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Finally, the pair collaborated, combining CBD and cells containing high levels of ID-1 in a petri dish.

"What we found was that his Cannabidiol could essentially 'turn off' the ID-1," Desprez told HuffPost. The cells stopped spreading and returned to normal.

 

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Sep 20th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

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