Tags Posts tagged with "Reclassify"


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The most recent proposal for marijuana before Congress would place the drug as a Schedule III substance, a classification shared by Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, and dronabinol. Two Florida congressmen, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz and Democratic Representative Darren Soto, introduced legislation that would transfer marijuana to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications.

Having marijuana on a lower scale would uphold the rights of states that have legalized the the use of it medically, allow for banking activities, and create a clearer path for research, Gaetz stated, “I have supported cannabis reform as a state legislator, and I want to see the people that I fought for in my state have access to a legal, high-quality product that’s been well-researched.”

When Gaetz was a state legislator in 2014 and 2015, he backed legislation to legalize “non-euphoric” marijuana for medical use and a proposal to allow terminally ill patients to access full-strength, non-smokeable cannabis. Both were signed into law. Prior to those efforts, Gaetz stood in opposition to medical marijuana proposals. What changed, he said, was watching Doctor Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special report, “Weed,” which chronicled the stories of medical marijuana patients and the challenges of medical research.

After watching the series, Gaetz said he thought that “somebody should do something about that.” He stated, “Until, I realized I could do that.” If successful, the yet-to-be-named House Bill 2020 would not affect recreational marijuana businesses in operation. Gaetz said The legislation is aimed at bolstering research and creating an economic boost by allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to bank openly. He said, “It’s a modest step forward to try to find the most possible common ground. I’ve seen that work.”

Marijuana’s Schedule I status has resulted in limitations for research. Federally approved studies have to utilize a marijuana study drug grown by University of Mississippi, the only federally approved cultivator. Researchers have long argued that the study the does not accurately represent the potency and strains available to consumers in dispensaries. In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would allow privately operated cultivators to apply to grow marijuana for research, and several companies have started the application process.

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Although legislation has been introduced into the United States House of Representatives to amend the Controlled Substances Act to no longer classify cannabis as a Schedule I substance and to exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the federal definition of cannabis, we continue to wait for further action.

29 states now permit physicians to authorize medical cannabis to qualified patients. Companies now sell cannabis based pharmaceutical products. And now, countries around the world continue to legalize medical cannabis at the Federal level.

Even though cannbais clearly has medical benefits, it remains a Schedule I substance alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and bath salts under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Schedule I substances have the following characteristics:
• The substance has a high potential for abuse.
• The substance has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.
• There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the substance under medical supervision

Five overlooked benefits of marijuana

Five overlooked benefits of cannabis include its potential to treat the following debilitating and deadly diseases:

1) Cancer

Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells. In April 2015, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells. The monthly publication was revised to say the following:

“Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.”

2) Fibromyalgia

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE: NASDAQ) is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics formulated for transdermal delivery. Zynerba is developing two therapeutic candidates based on proprietary transdermal technologies.

The company’s THC Pro-Drug Patch is a pro-drug of THC that enables transdermal delivery via a patch. Zynerba is studying ZYN001 in patients with fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathic pain.

3) Epilepsy

In 2016, GW Pharmaceutical’s (GWPH: NASDAQ) Epidiolex product passed Stage 3 Clinical trials for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome. In this study, Epidiolex achieved the primary endpoint of a significant reduction in convulsive seizures assessed over the entire treatment period compared with placebo. Epidiolex has both Orphan Drug Designation and Fast Track Designation from the FDA.

4) Glaucoma

In late 2015, Nemus Bioscience Inc. (NMUS) reported that Dr. Soumyajit Majumdar, an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics at the University of Mississippi, presented data at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) that showed that a pro-drug formulation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) significantly lowered intra-ocular pressure (IOP) in an open-angle rabbit glaucoma model.

The rabbits that received the THC pro-drug saw a greater percentage drop in IOP when compared to timolol, and an even greater percentage drop when compared to pilocarpine. The THC pro-drug resulted in an IOP lowering effect of 45%-50%.

5)Multiple Sclerosis

Cannabis can be used as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. GW Pharmaceutical’s (GWPH: INSY) Sativex product is sold as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and is derived from cannabis. Sativex is sold in 27 countries and it is currently in Stage 3 FDA testing (results expected late 2015/early 2016).

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The Utah Senate may ask Congress to change cannabis’ status on the national drug schedule, which may open the opportunity for scientists to research medical cannabis in Utah. Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, which is sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozawa (R-Salt Lake), would need to be approved by the full Legislature and Governor Gary Herbert. However, if it were approved, it would show a huge change in perspective about cannabis from state leaders.

At the moment, cannabis is ranked on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug schedule as a ‘Schedule 1” drug, which means that it is in a list of other drugs that have ‘no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.’ To get an idea of how irrational this is, other drugs on the list include Heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. Shiozawa’s bill would tell Congress to change cannabis to ‘Schedule 2′, putting it on a list of drugs such as Vicodin, OxyCotin, and Ritalin.

“It’s kind of gotten to be a mess because of inactivity on the executive branch and Congress,” Shiozawa stated. “This is an issue that frankly, we should have dealt with years ago.”

The writing of the resolution notes that the federal government has already mentioned that it will not attack patients who use medical cannabis in states where it is legal, and cities where there might be ‘ change in public policy in Utah regarding the issue.’ As of right now, state lawmakers have two cannabis bills

The text of the resolution points out that the federal government has already indicated it will not prosecute patients who use medical marijuana in states where there are medical marijuana laws in the books and cities where there may be ‘ change in public policy in Utah regarding the issue.’ Currently, state lawmakers are thinking about two marijuana proposals.

Senator Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), is sponsoring Senate Bill 73 which would allow for sick patients going through a multitude of illnesses to consume marijuana for pain relief, but only if a licensed physician recommends it. Sen. Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City) is sponsoring Senate Bill 89, which would give physicians the ability to prescribe medical cannabidiol, a less potent type of marijuana that is used for various illnesses and conditions.

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For years, citizens have had this negative connotation of marijuana as the first step to a destructive life. This all started with the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, which is a list of the most dangerous drugs, along with heroin. Despite this, studies have suggested that marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin or cocaine, a Schedule II drug. Actually, it is innocuous when compared to tobacco, two legal substances.

Now, the question is why is marijuana still considered a Schedule I substance. On August 14, 1970, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg, the Assistant Secretary of Health, wrote a letter which was sent to Congress regarding the classification of cannabis in the Controlled Substance Act.

Here is what the letter read: “Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana is retained within Schedule I, at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”

Consequently, the destiny of marijuana was set in stone. Out of fear of what the people did not know, along with a lack of research, the use of marijuana was prohibited. However, this may not be the case today.

“Marijuana leads to dependence in around nine to 10 percent of its adult users. By comparison, cocaine hooks 20 percent of those who use it. Around 25 percent of heroin users become addicted,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. He added that he “could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.”

This makes it clear that since marijuana can result in neither addictions nor overdoses, marijuana could not be considered under the same category as Schedule I drugs like LSD and heroin. Also, studies have found that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, actually kills sundry brain cancer cell lines.

In addition, it has also been found that the THC of marijuana, the same element that enables the user to feel high, induces the death of various brain cancer cell lines. Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, Weed, reports that the use of marijuana might be the best option to treat mental illnesses such as epilepsy or Alzheimers.

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It seems that Hillary Clinton has loosened up on marijuana restrictions during a town hall on Saturday in South Carolina. Clinton announced that she supported the same reclassification of the drug that Bernie Sanders suggested last week for research to be conducted for medical purposes.

“A lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we’ve got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now,” Hillary stated. “The problem with medical marijuana is that there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions, but we haven’t done any research.”

Clinton said that the reason for this is because marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance along with dangerous drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. The Drug Enforcement Administration defines schedule 1 drugs as drugs “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” However, if it was not classified so highly, many more doors would open up for legal research.

“Researchers at universities, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), could start researching what’s the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications,” she added.

On Saturday at the town hall at Claflin University in Orangeburg, Clinton said that she still does not support pot legalization, but that the federal government should study states that have already legalized to learn more. Clinton is the last presidential candidate to support reclassification following Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He began criticizing Clinton’s actions, though.

“I am glad to see Secretary Clinton is beginning to address an issue that my legislation addressed,” Sanders said in a statement, “but her approach ignored the major issue. Secretary Clinton would classify marijuana in the same category as cocaine and continue to make marijuana a federally regulated substance. If we are serious about criminal justice reform and preventing many thousands of lives from being impacted because of criminal convictions for marijuana possession, we must remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and allow states the right to go forward, if they choose, to legalize marijuana without federal legal impediments.”

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