According to an FDA statement, marijuana is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) - this is the most restrictive schedule. The FDA agrees with this Schedule I listing, as does the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The three criteria for placement in Schedule I, says the FDA (21 U.S.C 812b 1) are currently met by Marijuana. It listed as the three main reasons against the use of marijuana for medical use as:
1. It has a high potential for abuse
2. It has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the USA
3. It has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision
The FDA also added that current evidence shows marijuana is harmful to human health. It cited several studies and reports done by HHS, FDA, SAMHSA and NIDA, which indicate that scientific evidence supporting marijuana's medical use is lacking (for treatment in the USA). Also, the FDA said animal or human data supporting efficacy and safety of marijuana for general medical use is lacking.
There are alternatives (approved by the FDA) to smoking marijuana for medical use, said the agency.
The FDA's role is to make sure a drug is safe and effective before it is allowed into the market.
The agency went on to say that without clear evidence of safety and efficacy through well regulated clinical trials, it cannot approve a drug. It would not serve the interests of public health, as patients would be exposed to ineffective and potentially dangerous drug products.
The agency criticised moves made by a number of states to make smoked marijuana available for some medical conditions (upon a doctor's recommendation). 11 states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The FDA has no power in enforcing its statement on those states (would be the role of the DEA).
Saying there is no sound scientific study contradicts a study carried out in 1999 by the Institute of Medicine. This study did find some benefits in using marijuana for particular conditions.
At medical news today we have received over the years hundreds of emails from patients worldwide whose lives have been made more tolerable thanks to marijuana.