A new report issued from a U.S. government-funded research group called the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) may have put the federal government in a bit of an awkward situation.
NIDA, which receives an annual budget a year of over $1 billion and had been given the task of studying drug abuse and addiction involving marijuana, admits that using marijuana can be helpful in killing specific types of brain tumors and weakens the cancer cells so they are less resistant to radiation treatment.
And while this may seem to be somewhat of an old news story, with research on this very topic being around for a few years now, this is one of the few times that the federal government has openly admitted to cannabis having any kind of medical value.
According to the Daily Caller, NIDA released a revised report for April based on research done at St. George’s University of London and published last year in the medical journal Molecular Cancer Therapies. The initial research found that when patients who suffer from brain tumors are administered THC or cannabidiol that “dramatic reductions” were found in the size and aggressiveness of the tumors when coupled with radiation therapy.
NIDA released this report just a few days after the United States Justice Department announced that they were going to continue to prosecute any and all medical marijuana cases against those that they deem to be “in defiance of Congress.” This, ironically, is also an act against Congress in itself, as the Justice Department is acting in direct defiance of an amendment that was adding to a spending bill last December. The amendment states that the Justice Department is not legally allowed to interfere with states that allow the sale of medical marijuana from being able to implement their laws.
However, the main problem with the wording of the amendment is that it is just vague enough for the Justice Department to work around.
Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department, released an statement about the department’s official stance on the issue. Rodenbush explained that they did not feel as if the amendment applies to cases against individuals or organizations. He continued, stating that the amendment does nothing more than to stop the Justice Department from “impeding the ability of the states to carry out their medical marijuana laws.”
This interpretation of the amendment has gotten a bit dangerous for some medical marijuana dispensary owners, as the Justice Department has initiated forfeiture proceedings against three dispensaries that they considered to be breaking federal law with their practices.
Henry Wykowski, a lawyer representing the dispensaries in question, finds the Justice Department’s interpretation of the amendment to be unfortunate.
“I think that the amendment is vague and it hasn’t been interpreted by any court yet,” Wykowski explains. “But the language can be read more broadly to encompass such prosecutions.”
Bill Piper, Drug Policy Alliance Director of National Affairs, also released a statement regarding the Justice Department’s actions via the Huffington Post: “The Justice Department is ignoring the will of the voters, defying Congress, and breaking the law. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder need to rein in this out-of-control agency,”
Piper also made it a point to call on Congress to change federal drug laws so that they would allow states to be free to set their own marijuana policies without any form of federal interference.
But while the Justice Department is being quite hypocritical with its actions, this new report could mean something very large for the legal status of marijuana throughout the nation.
Currently, the marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, which by definition means that it has no currently accepted medical uses. And this remains the case, even though it has been up for consideration to be rescheduled and the U.S. Surgeon General has admitted that it has the possibility to be good for some patients.
But now, the a government-run agency has admitted that medical marijuana actually does have a medical use, with its tested and recently approved ability to reduce brain tumors. However, the report also included an explanation that “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine. However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form. Continued research may lead to more medications.”
And while this does not immediately change the scheduling of marijuana, it could mean that the federal government may have accidently given United States lawmakers the necessary ammo they need to finally remove the Schedule I label of marijuana, be it medical or recreational.
With more and more research being reported and approved, the future for the medical marijuana industry is looking bright. Hopefully, the next report will reveal another miraculous use for the substance so that more lives can be saved from fatal diseases.
Has cannabis helped heal you? Share your story in the comments.