Federal Agency Tips Hat to Medical Cannabis While 9-Year-Old Rescheduling Petition Gathers Dust

March 29, 2011 | Kris Hermes
According to the Washington Independent, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has added "Cannabis" to its website as a Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). This is the first time in contemporary history that a federal agency has made such an admission, especially as it applies to cancer:
The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.
This statement is in stark contrast to the historical rhetoric of HHS, which has consistently said marijuana (cannabis) is a dangerous drug with no medical value. Further complicating the government's position, NCI also states on its website:
Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years prior to its current status as an illegal substance.
Meanwhile, a 9-year-old petition to reschedule cannabis sits before the federal government gathering dust. The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, which filed its petition in 2002, has never received a response. Read more about this federal contradiction from ASA's press release on the issue here.
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