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Sensi Magazine

FDA Says MJ Doesn't Cause Cancer, Psychosis, or Brain Damage

Oct 22, 2016 04:58PM ● By Randy Robinson
Back in August, the DEA announced it would not reschedule cannabis from the most restrictive classification, Schedule I, despite a year-long review. Schedule I is reserved for only the most dangerous drugs, those that are highly addictive, deadly, and show no medicinal benefit. 

Cannabis advocates and activists have said for decades that cannabis does not meet the criteria for Schedule I. The DEA did not disagree; rather, the DEA relied on the opinion of the FDA. It was the FDA that advised the DEA to not reschedule.

Vice, a media company based in New York City, challenged the FDA's claim. The outlet issued a Freedom of Information Act request from the FDA, demanding its full report that justified keeping cannabis at Schedule I. Initially, the FDA refused the order. But this week, the FDA forked it over.

And boy, was it a doozy.

Basically, the FDA argued that marijuana use is similar to using other (far more dangerous) drugs like tobacco, crack, or meth: users prefer to inhale these drugs after heating them. Heating and inhalation produce a more intense high that hits quicker than other routes. There also seems to be some evidence that cannabis can be habit forming, again, like these other drugs.

That was pretty much it. That's all the FDA had to go on.

In all fairness, the FDA's report did advise more research into the potential medical applications of marijuana. They also stated there was no evidence that marijuana caused cancer. Or low IQ. And perhaps most surprising of all, they admitted there was no link between cannabis and psychosis, an oft repeated myth parroted by prohibitionists.

What does this FDA report tell us? It confirms, beyond any reasonable doubt, that cannabis prohibition has nothing to do with science. It is, and always has been, a political issue, not a scientific or medical one. 

The FDA concluded there were no clinical trials that showed cannabis provided medical benefits. That's true, despite the tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies that suggest cannabis can treat a multitude of diseases. Ironically, the reason there are no human clinical trials for cannabis is because the FDA and the DEA blocked that research for decades. 

This year, the FDA and the DEA finally approved a whole-plant clinical trial for patients with PTSD. It's the first whole-plant study of its kind, though it'll be a few years before we get the results.