Florida – Support for legalization of cannabis, for both recreational and medical use, is increasing in the United States, but there is insufficient evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that it works medicinally.

“Currently, there are only a limited number of studies on cannabis, or marijuana, due to its Schedule I classification. More research is needed, but until that classification changes, it is not going to be possible to study it to the extent that it needs to be,”

Heather Oxentine, MD, from Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, said here at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 27th Annual Meeting. As of March 2016, Washington, DC and 24 states have passed laws somewhat legalizing pot, however, the US Drug Enforcement Agency still acknowledge it as a Schedule I substance with no adequate medical use and high potential for abuse, Dr Oxentine noted.

“Decriminalization has positive effects in that it reduces the rates of certain populations, particularly African Americans, from being imprisoned. There is benefit in that, but we wanted to find out if marijuana is something that we can legitimately offer our patients, or are we going to be out in left field when we try to prescribe it in Georgia?” she said.

Because the drug is controlled, doctors cannot legally prescribe it. Doctors can only recommend it for certain conditions in the states where it is legal.

“People want to study it, but the only place it is grown in the US is at the University of Mississippi, which has a contract with NIDA [the National Institute on Drug Abuse]. Pharmacies can’t legally dispense marijuana, it has to be through special dispensaries, so you don’t have the FDA [the US Food and Drug Administration] regulating how much you are getting or the purity of what you are getting.

“You never know if you’re getting mold or fungi, herbicides, stuff like that. And then when you smoke it, there’s no actually FDA-approved medications legally smoked in the US, so you never know. For example, the THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] content of what you are getting is not a fixed dosage from person to person,” she said.

Here are some of the conditions for which medical marijuana is being prescribed currently which include the following:
Parkinson’s disease
Multiple sclerosis
Wasting syndrome
Crohn’s disease
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

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