To the surprise and delight of those who support medical marijuana, the American Medical Association announced Tuesday that it will call for the schedule I status of marijuana to be reviewed:
"Our American Medical Association (AMA) urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines," the AMA's statement (PDF) reads. "This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."
Support is clearly growing around the marijuana legalization movement and this statement comes on the heels of numerous victories for reformers. Maine voters approved an initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries and pot is now legal for the over-21 crowd in Breckenridge, Colordo, after voter passed a ballot initiative.
(Meanwhile, the firing of British government drug adviser Prof. David Nutt (AKA "the Nutt sacking"), who had compared the threat of taking Ecstasy to that of horseback riding, has led to the resignation of five other government advisers.)
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug. This means it is grouped in with drugs like heroin and PCP and is said to have a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug because it has medical use as a topical anesthetic.
If marijuana became a Schedule II drug, it's complete medical potential could finally be researched. At the present, all marijuana used for research must be obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who essentially have a monopoly on research cannabis; and they aren't giving much of it away. Cannabis-based medicines could be studied and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies such as G.W.. which created Sativex, an oral cannabis spray (researched and created across the pond) that provides an alternative to smoke inhalation.