By Steve Elliott
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has joined the growing number of top medical professionals and organizations favoring the reform of marijuana allows to allow access to cannabis for medicinal purposes.
"We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful," Dr. Murthy said, reports communications director Jag Davies at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking."
Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in 23 states, the federal government still insists cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no medical value.
It's an "interesting story that's unfolding in our country right now," according to Dr. Murthy, and "we have to see what the science tells us about the efficacy of marijuana, and I think we're going to get a lot more data on that" as more states legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Patients in states without medical marijuana laws have no legal access at all to this therapeutic substance. Even in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, patients and providers are vulnerable to arrest and harassment from federal law enforcement agents.