DEA May Loosen Its Classification of Marijuana

Agency could move marijuana to a less strictly regulated class of drugs
Agency could move marijuana to a less strictly regulated class of drugs

HealthDay News — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is weighing whether to loosen its classification of marijuana, which would remove many restrictions on its use in medical research. If that occurs, doctors could start getting answers to the questions they regularly receive from patients regarding marijuana's clinical benefits.

"I am asked as a practicing doctor even in a rural area about medical marijuana use, and I want to make sure I can give patients advice that's evidence-based," said Robert Wergin, MD, board chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "We need those kinds of studies to help us give informed advice to our patients who ask about it now."

The DEA has said it will decide this summer whether marijuana should be lowered from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug, according to an April memo from the agency to Congress.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has come out in favor of loosening drug laws to "develop a special schedule for marijuana to facilitate study of its potential medical utility in prescription drug products," according to a statement its officials provided ABC News. "While studies related to a limited number of medical conditions have shown promise for new cannabinoid-based prescription products, the scope of rigorous research needs to be expanded to a broader range of medical conditions for such products," the AMA added.

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