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Published on February 5th, 2015 | by News Feed

Pediatricians Call For Change in Cannabis Classification

The US Federal Government currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, making it difficult for many states to consider cannabis as a potential life saving medical intervention. In light of recent research, the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking federal lawmakers to downgrade the current ranking of cannabis so that researchers will have more freedom to explore its potential health benefits for patients.

The Pediatricians hope to see the Drug Enforcement Administration change cannabis to a Schedule II controlled substance so that more sick kids can have access to the care they need. Dr. Seth Ammerman, a co-author of the recommendation explained that the current classification is hindering treatment for many kids.

“A Schedule 1 listing means there’s no medical use or helpful indications, but we know that’s not true because there has been limited evidence showing (marijuana) may be helpful for certain conditions in adults,” Ammerman told the Wall Street Journal.

“By placing this on Schedule 2, it would allow the FDA to be involved (in pediatric research) as the agency is in any study,” he said. “Unless scheduling changes, this won’t happen. And there could be therapeutic benefits. The AAP is not opposed to medical marijuana, per se, but we feel it’s important that this be explored within the (framework of the) FDA process, where you have standardization.”

Last year, the Epilepsy Foundation also asked the DEA to consider changing the classification of cannabis to open the door for greater research. Many health officials believe that marijuana could have tremendous medical benefits particularly for children with Epilepsy that does not respond to traditional drug treatments.

While the federal government has not wavered on the classification yet, they did allow GW Pharmaceuticals to conduct clinical trials on a drug called Epidiolex, which is based on cannabis and used to treat epilepsy. If the FDA does give official approval to Epidiolex, the DEA will likely change the cannabis classification to Schedule II so that it can become legally available to patients who need it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also called on pediatricians to continue advocating for their patients and they recommended that marijuana be decriminalized across the nation so that parents are no longer forced to move out of state when their children need treatment from cannabis.

Do you think the federal government will reexamine the current classification of marijuana after this very public statement from the AAP?

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