Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis
The American Public Health Association
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Being aware that cannabis/marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries and that cannabis
products were widely prescribed by physicians in the United States until 1937;1,2 and
Being aware that "marijuana" prohibition began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 under false
claims despite disagreeing testimony from the AMA's representative;3,4 and
Being further aware that the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 completely prohibited all
use of marijuana by placing it in the most restrictive category of Schedule I, whereby drugs
must meet three criteria for placement in this category: 1) have no therapeutic value, 2) are not
medical use, and 3) have a high abuse potential;5 and
Being cognizant that the Drug Enforcement Administration's own administrative law judge ruled
1988 that marijuana must be removed from Schedule I and made available for physicians to
Knowing that 36 states have passed legislation recognizing marijuana's therapeutic value;9,10 and
Also knowing that the only available access to legal marijuana which was through the Food and
Administration's Investigational New Drug Program has been closed by the Secretary of Health
Human Services since 1992;11 and
Understanding that while synthetic Tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) is available in pill form, it is only
of approximately 60 cannabinoids which may have medicinal value individually or in some
Understanding that marijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical
supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions;6,32,34 and
Understanding that marijuana has been reported to be effective in:
a) reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma;12,13
b) reducing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy;14-16
c) stimulating the appetite for patients living with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)
suffering from the wasting syndrome;17-19
d) controlling spasticity associated with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis;20-25
e) decreasing the suffering from chronic pain;26-28 and
f) controlling seizures associated with seizure disorders;29-31 and
Understanding that marijuana seems to work differently than many conventional medications for
above problems, making it a possible option for persons resistant to the conventional
Being concerned that desperate patients and their families are choosing to break the law to obtain
medicine when conventional medicines or treatments have not been effective for them or are too
Realizing that this places ill persons at risk for criminal charges and at risk for obtaining
medicine because of the lack of quality control; and
Realizing that thousands of patients not helped by conventional medications and treatments, may
relief from their suffering with the use of marijuana if their primary care providers were able to
prescribe this medicine; and
Concluding that cannabis/marijuana was wrongfully placed in Schedule I of the Controlled
depriving patients of its therapeutic potential;
Recognizing that APHA adopted a resolution (7014) on Marijuana and the Law which urged
and state drugs laws to exclude marijuana from classification as a narcotic drug;36 and
Concluding that greater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible
of medicinal use; therefore
1. Encourages research of the therapeutic properties of various cannabinoids and combinations of
2. Encourages research on alternative methods of administration to decrease the harmfull effects
3. Urges the Administration and Congress to move expeditiously to make cannabis available as a
legal medicine where shown to be safe and effective and to immediately allow access to
cannibis through the Investigational New
- Abel EA: Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: McGraw-Hill Book
- Mikuriya TH, Ed: Marijuana: Medical Papers 1839-1972 Oakland, CA: Medi-Comp Press,
- Bonnie RJ, Whitebread II, CH: The Marihuana Conviction: A History of Marihuana
in the United States. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1974.
- National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (RP Shafer, Chairman): Marihuana: A
Misunderstanding. New York: The New American Library, Inc., 1972.
- Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91-513, October 27, 1970, 21USC801 et seq.).
- In the Matter of Marihuana Rescheduling Petition, Docket 86-22, Opinion, Recommended
Ruling, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decision of Administrative Law Judge,
September 6, 1988. Washington, DC: Drug Enforcement
- Randall RC: Marijuana, Medicine and the Law, Washington, DC: Galen Press, 1988.
- Randall RC: Marijuana, Medicine and the Law. (Volume II) Washington. DC: Galen Press,
1989. Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics: No accepted medical value?? ACT News, Spring,
- Grinspoon L, Bakalar, JB: Marihuana as medicine: a plea for reconsideration. JAMA.
- Government extinguishes marijuana access, advocates smell politics. JAMA. May 20,
- Colasanti BK: Review: Ocular hypotensive affect of marihuana cannabinoids: correlate
- Hepler RS, Frank IM: Marihuana smoking and intraocular pressure. JAMA. 1971;2l7:1392.
- Sallan SE, Zinberg NE, Frei III E: Antiemetic effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in
receiving cancer chemotherapy. New Engl J Med. 1975;293(16):795-797.
- Sallan SE, Cronin C, Zelen M, Zinberg NE: Antiemetics in patients receiving chemotherapy
cancer. New Engl J Med. 1980;302:135-138.
- Vinciguerra V, Moore T, Brennan E: Inhalation marijuana as an antiemetic for cancer
chemotherapy. NY State J Med. 1988;88:525-527.
- Nelson K, Walsh D, Deeter P. et al: A phase II study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol for
stimulation in cancer-associated anorexia. J Palliative Care. 1994;1O(1):14-18.
- Regelson W, Butler JR, Schultz J et al: Delta-9-THC as an effective antidepressant and
stimulating agent in advanced cancer patients. In Int Conf Pharmacol Cannabis,
Ed S Szara, MC Braude. Savannah: Raven, 1973.
- Foltin RW, Fischman MW, Byrne MF: Effects of smoked marijuana on food intake and body
weight of humans living in a residential laboratory. Appetite. 1988;11:1-14.
- Clifford DB: Tetrahydrocannabinol for tremor in multiple sclerosis. Ann Neurol.
- Malec J, Harvey RF, Cayner JJ: Cannabis effect on spasticity in spinal cord injury. Arch Phys
Med Rehab. 1982;35:198.
- Meinck H, Schonle PW, Conrad B: Effect of cannabinoids on spasticity and ataxia in multiple
sclerosis. J Neurol. 1989;236:l20-l22.
- Petro D: Marihuana as a therapeutic agent for muscle spasm or spasticity. Psychosomatics.
- Petro D, Ellenberger C: Treatment of human spasticity with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. J
- Ungerleider JT, Andyrsiak T, Fairbanks L, et al: Delta-9- THC in the treatment of spasticity
associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Johnson MR, Melvin LS, Althius, TH et al: Selective and potent analgesics derived from
cannabinoids. J Clin Pharmacol. 1981;21:271S-282S.
- Maurer M, Henn V, Dittrich A, et al: Delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol shows antispastic and
analgesic effects in a single case double-blind trial. Eur Arch
Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1990;240:1-4.
- Noyes Jr. R, Brunk SF, Avery DH, et al: The analgesic properties of
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and codeine. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1975;l8(l):84-89.
- Cunha JM, Carlini EA, Pereira AE, et al: Chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy
volunteers and epileptic patients. Pharmacology. 1980;21:175-185.
- Feeney D: Marihuana use among epileptics. JAMA. 1976;235:1105.
- Karler R, Turkanis SA: The cannabinoids as potential antiepileptics. J Clin Pharmacol.
- Institute of Medicine: Marijuana and Health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press,
- Mechoulam R, Ed: Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1986.
- Cannabis clubs open for medicinal business. USA Today, October 1, 1993:B1,B5.
- Berger J: Mother's homemade marijuana: a plan to aid her son leads to arrest and push for
change. The New York Times, October 11, 1993.
- American Public Health Association Resolution No. 7014: Marijuana and the Law, APHA
Public Policy Statements, s1948-present, cumulative. Washington, DC: APHA, current volume.