American Academy of Pediatrics Wants Marijuana Rescheduled

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Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement calling for marijuana to be removed from its current Schedule I classification and rescheduled to Schedule II. This may prove to be a watershed moment; the largest professional organization for pediatricians domestically and the largest  pediatric publisher in the world is calling for real, earnest research into the uses of medical marijuana.

In a five-page statement released on January 26th, 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement indicating that the organization supports American Academy of Pediatrics wants the Drug Enforcement Agency to remove cannabis from Schedule I and move it to Schedule II. This move is predicated on the AAP’s position that there are pediatric medical conditions which will benefit from treatment by cannabinoids. Sadly, they also believe that medical marijuana should be replaced with pharmaceutical-grade products based on cannabinoids and that legalization is not the answer.

Their statement breaks down their position into ten primary points. The first is that the AAP generally opposes the use of cannabis by anyone under the age of 21 due to “data supporting the negative health and brain development effects of marijuana in children and adolescents.” The second point states that the AAP does not support current medical marijuana programs, but also indicates they believe children should have access to them until such a time when there are FD-approved cannabinoid medications available.

“The AAP opposes “ medical marijuana ” outside the regulatory process of the US Food and Drug Administration. Notwithstanding this opposition to use, the AAP recognizes that marijuana may currently be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.”

They go on to state that the organization officially opposes marijuana legalization, as they believe it will be harmful to teens and children and that parents who use cannabis should never do so in front of their children. They also recommend against smoking as a form of ingestion of cannabis and recommend child-proof packaging requirements in states with legal or medical marijuana markets and tight regulations prohibition minors from accessing cannabis. They also call for the DEA to reschedule cannabis and openly support decriminalization as an alternative to legalization, as they acknowledge the terrible impact of incarcerating non-violent offenders, especially minors, for cannabis use.

While this police statement might be problematic in its official stances, there is still much here to celebrate. By recognizing that medical cannabis presents a best option for some pediatric patients, the AAP has reiterated, publicly, the unquestionable medicinal value it holds. The timing of this release couldn’t be better, as U.S. Disctrict Judge Kimberly Mueller will be hearing final arguments on February 11th, 2015 in a motion to dismiss cannabis-related criminal charges based on the government’s inaccurate classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance without any known medical properties. It may also be sign of good things to come; perhaps, now that the American Academy of Pediatrics has weighed in on the issue, other major medical professional organizations will do the same.

For previous Ladybud Magazine articles about the Schedule I classification of cannabis, click here.

Photo Credit: Nevil Dilmer under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons