Federal scientists recommend easing marijuana restrictions

Marijuana is not as risky or as prone to abuse as other strictly controlled substances and has potential medical benefits and should therefore be removed from the nation’s most restrictive drug category, federal scientists have concluded.

The recommendations are contained in a 250-page scientific review provided to Matthew Zorn, a texas lawyer who sued Health and Human Services officials over its post and posted it online Friday night. An HHS official confirmed the authenticity of the document.

The records shed light for the first time on the thinking of federal health officials who are considering a momentous change. The agencies involved have not commented publicly on their discussions over what amounts to a reconsideration of marijuana at the federal level.

Since 1970, marijuana has been considered a Schedule I drug, a category that also includes heroin. Schedule I drugs have no medical use and have a high potential for abuse, and carry severe criminal penalties under federal traffic laws.

The documents show that scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have recommended that the DEA list marijuana as a Schedule III drug, along with ketamine and testosterone, which are available by prescription. medical.

The review by federal scientists found that although marijuana is the most frequently abused illicit drug, it “does not produce serious outcomes compared to Schedule I or II drugs.”

Marijuana abuse leads to physical dependence, the analysis noted, and some people develop psychological dependence. “But the likelihood of serious outcomes is low,” the review concluded.

The review also said there is some “scientific support” for therapeutic uses of marijuana, including the treatment of anorexia, pain, and nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy.

Federal officials cautioned that their analysis was not intended to suggest that they had established the safety and effectiveness of marijuana in a way that would support FDA approval, only that the data supported some medical uses of marijuana.

These conclusions apparently led the FDA to break with decades of precedent last August and advise the DEA to recategorize marijuana, a move first reported by Bloomberg News.

That recommendation is being considered by the DEA, which is expected to formally announce its decision within a few months. The reclassification will be subject to public comment and debate before it is final.