Weed could offer medical benefits, less risky than some drugs: federal review
Marijuana may offer medical benefits and isn't as risky as other tightly controlled substances, according to a new federal scientific review.
Why it matters: The review, posted Friday evening, provides insight on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' recommendation that the Drug Enforcement Administration reclassify marijuana out of a category that includes heroin and LSD.
What they found: The public health risks posed by marijuana, the most frequently abused illicit drug, are lower compared with other abused drugs.
- Still, there is "clear evidence" marijuana abuse produces harmful consequences, according to the review.
- There is some "credible scientific support" for marijuana as a treatment for pain, anorexia and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Federal scientists didn't identify safety concerns with medical use of marijuana for such purposes.
- Marijuana produces physical and psychological dependence in some, but those effects are likely limited.
Yes, but: Some drug experts said the scientific evidence for marijuana as a medicine isn't strong, and they note that increasingly strong products have been tied to higher rates of psychosis.
What's next: The DEA in the coming months is expected to announce a decision on marijuana rescheduling, which could be a boon for a cannabis industry that's struggled to do business with banks because of federal restrictions.