DEA Approves Medical Marijuana Study at UCSD
The Drug Enformcent Administration Wednesday approved the first medical marijuana study, allowing two University of California-San Diego Medical Center professors to study the effects of marijuana on people with multiple sclerosis and those with AIDS-related neuropathy, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The unidentified neurology professors will test approximately 60 subjects over several weeks at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UCSD. All subjects will smoke marijuana cigarettes provided by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, although half will receive cigarettes that lack THC, the active chemical compound in marijuana. The DEA said it intends to "introduce some science into what has been an emotionally charged debate." The AP/Times reports that the DEA is responding to "pressure from mounting public opinion" that marijuana can offer medicinal benefits. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana. Since then, six other states have followed suit. "The question of whether marijuana has any legitimate medicinal purpose should be determined by sound science and medicine," DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson said. The study will take a year to determine if marijuana has any benefit, Dr. Igor Grant, director of the CMCR, said. "If this method shows that there is something therapeutic, the next step will be to find ways of delivering these products that are socially acceptable," Grant added (Hettena, AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.