National Medical Societies in Opposition to Marijuana

“Medical” marijuana is just a Trojan horse for legalization and a scam for back door legalization.

The following is a list of national medical associations representing medical conditions exploited by proponents of medical marijuana to engender compassionate votes in favor of initiative petition laws and who oppose the use of marijuana as a proven treatment.


1. The American Academy of Ophthalmology

“No scientific evidence has been found that demonstrates increased benefits and/or diminished risks of marijuana use to treat glaucoma compared with the wide variety of pharmaceutical agents now available.”

2. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states its concern about the negative impact of marijuana on youth. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the many adverse, cognitive, medical, psychiatric, and addictive effects of marijuana. Adolescent marijuana users are more likely than adult users to develop marijuana dependence, and their heavy use is associated with increased incidence and worsened course of psychotic, mood, and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, marijuana’s deleterious effects on cognition and brain development during adolescence may have lasting implications.

3. The American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American School Counselor Association are among the nine signers of an open letter to parents entitled Experts Agree that Marijuana and Learning Don’t Add Up. They recognize that teens with an average grade of “D” or below are more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year as youth who reported an average grade of “A.” Significant consequences of marijuana that interfere with learning include negative effects on short-term memory, motivation, problem-solving, concentration and attention span. The Academy also notes adverse effects of marijuana on “coordination, judgment, reaction time, and tracking ability contribute substantially to unintentional deaths and injuries among adolescents (especially those associated with motor vehicles.)” The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents and legislators to know it opposes the legalization of marijuana. This policy position outlined in the June 2004 issue of the Academy’s Journal, Pediatrics concludes: “Any change in the legal status of marijuana, even if limited to adults, could affect the prevalence of use among adolescents.” The AAP Journal, Pediatrics, notes: Tobacco and alcohol products, both legal for adults 18 and 21 years of age, respectively, are the psychoactive substances most widely abused by adolescents.“…it does not follow logically that yet a third addictive psychoactive drug (marijuana) should be legalized.

4. The American Glaucoma Society

It has been definitively demonstrated, and widely appreciated, that smoking marijuana lowers IOP in both normal individuals and in those with glaucoma, and therefore might be a treatment for glaucoma. Less often appreciated is marijuana’s short duration of action (only 3-4 hours), meaning that to lower the IOP around the clock it would have to be smoked every three hours. Furthermore, marijuana’s mood altering effects would prevent the patient who is using it from driving, operating heavy machinery, and functioning at maximum mental capacity. Summary: Although marijuana can lower the intraocular pressure (IOP), its side effects and short duration of action, coupled with a lack of evidence that it use alters the course of glaucoma, preclude recommending this drug in any form for the treatment of glaucoma at the present time.

5. American Lung Association

People who smoke marijuana frequently, but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers do. Many of these extra sick days were due to respiratory illnesses. Marijuana smoke contains a greater amount of carcinogens than tobacco smoke. In addition, marijuana users usually inhalemore deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, further increasing the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana use is not only associated with adverse physical effects, but also mental, emotional and behavioral changes.

6. The American Medical Association

Our AMA believes that

1. Cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern;

2. Sale and possession of marijuana should not be legalized;

3. Handling of offenders should be individualized; and “For far too long, the message to our nation’s young people has been that marijuana is harmless, when research has clearly proven that is not the case. Marijuana is mind-altering, it can be addictive, and it can lead to destructive behavior.”

7. The American Society of Addictions Medicine

The ASAM Board supported the following:

· Limit access to marijuana for those under 21

· Keep youth in school

· Provide schools with resources to identify and help students using marijuana

· Construct a community-based evaluation and intervention system to address youth under 18 who are using marijuana

· Provide treatment to youth who have become dependent on marijuana

The ASAM Board of Directors currently considers any legalization of marijuana to be inconsistent with its public policy position as stated in item #9 in its statement of National Drug Policy: “ASAM opposes any changes in law and regulation that would lead to a sudden significant increase in the availability of any dependence-producing drug. Any changes should be gradual and carefully monitored.” Oct 30, 2011

8. The California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM)

The California Society of Addiction Medicine strongly urges all physicians who recommend the medical use of marijuana beheld to all accepted medical standards of practice adopted by the California Medical Board in 2004 for recommending or approving any medication, including:

1. History and good faith examination of the patient

2. Development of a treatment plan with objectives

3. Provision of informed consent including discussion of side effects

4. Periodic review of the treatment’s efficacy

5. Consultation, as necessary

6. Proper record keeping that supports the decision to recommend the use of marijuana


• If a physician recommends or approves the use of medical marijuana for a minor, the parents or legal guardians must be fully informed of the risks and benefits of such use and must consent to that use.

• It is incumbent upon a physician recommending marijuana to consult with the patient’s primary treating physician or obtain the appropriate patient records to confirm the patient’s underlying diagnosis and prior treatment history.

• The physician should determine that medical marijuana use is not masking an acute or treatable progressive condition, or that such use will lead to a worsening of the patient’s condition.

Failure to meet these standards of medical practice when recommending marijuana, an addictive psychoactive sub­stance, should be treated by the California Medical Board with the same level of concern as failure to meet standards of medical practice in prescribing other addictive medica­tions.

9. The Food and Drug Administration

NEWS RELEASE – April 20, 2006 – FDA Press Office, 301-827-6242

Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a Medicine Claims have been advanced asserting smoked marijuana has a value in treating various medical conditions. Some have argued that herbal marijuana is a safe and effective medication and that itshould be made available to people who suffer from a number of ailments upon a doctor’s recommendation, even though it is not an approved drug.

Marijuana is listed in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which administers the CSA, continues to support that placement and FDA concurred because marijuana met the three criteria for placement in Schedule I under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1) (e.g., marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision). There is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use ofmarijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana.

FDA is the sole Federal agency that approves drug products as safe and effective for intended indications. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act requires that new drugs be shown to be safe and effective for their intended use before being marketed in this country. FDA’s drug approval process requires well-controlled clinical trials that provide the necessary scientific data upon which FDA makes its approval and labeling decisions. If a drug product is to be marketed, disciplined, systematic, scientifically conducted trials are the best means to obtain data to ensure that drug is safe and effective when used as indicated. Efforts that seek to bypass the FDA drug approval process would not serve the interests of public health because they might expose patients to unsafe and ineffective drug products. FDA has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease indication.

A growing number of states have passed voter referenda (or legislative actions) making smoked marijuana available for a variety of medical conditions upon a doctor’s recommendation. These measures are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA approval process and are proven safe and effective under the standards of the FD&C Act. Accordingly, FDA, as the federal agency responsible for reviewing the safety and efficacy of drugs, DEA as the federal agency charged with enforcing the CSA, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, as the federal coordinator of drug control policy, do not support the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes.

10.The National Eye Institute

Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma. In an effort to determine whether marijuana, or drugs derived from marijuana, might be effective as a glaucoma treatment, the National Eye Institute (NEI) supported research studies beginning in 1978. These studies demonstrated that some derivatives of marijuana transiently lowered IOP when administered orally, intravenously, or by smoking, but not when topically applied to the eye.

However, none of these studies demonstrated that marijuana — or any of its components — could lower IOP as effectively as drugs already on the market. In addition, some potentially serious side effects were noted, including an increased heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure in studies using smoked marijuana.

11.The National Institutes of Health

Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects. The majority of studies are based on smoked marijuana, and cannabinoid effects cannot be separated from the effects of inhaling smoke from burning plant material and contaminants. Marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, is associated with increased risk of cancer, lung damage, and poor pregnancy outcomes. Cellular, genetic, and human studies all suggest that marijuana smoke is an important risk factor for the development of respiratory cancer. Marijuana smoking is associated with abnormalities of cells lining the human respiratory tract.

For most people the primary adverse effect of acute marijuana use is diminished psychomotor performance. It is, therefore, inadvisable to operate any vehicle or potentially dangerous equipment while under the influence of marijuana, THC, or any cannabinoid drug with comparable effects. In addition, a minority ofmarijuana users experience dysphoria, or unpleasant feelings. A concern associated with chronic marijuana use is dependence on the psychoactive effects of THC. Risk factors for marijuana dependence are similar to those for other forms of substance abuse. In particular, anti-social personality and conduct disorders are closely associated with substance abuse.

12.The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

“There is a very real need for additional therapies to treat stubborn and often painful symptoms of MS. However, based on the studies to date — and the fact that long-term use of marijuana may be associated with significant, serious side effects — it is the opinion of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Medical Advisory Board that there are currently insufficient data to recommend marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS symptoms. Research is continuing to determine if there is a possible role for marijuana or its derivatives in the treatment of MS. In the meantime, other well tested, FDA-approved drugs are available(including baclofen and tizanidine) to reduce spasticity in MS.”