FDA Recommends Reclassifying Marijuana as Less Restricted Drug

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FDA Recommends Reclassifying Marijuana as Less Restricted Drug
FDA Supports Reclassifying Marijuana as a Less Restricted Substance, Citing Its Potential Medical Benefits

According to a report from the US media outlet Proceso on January 12th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasized in a lengthy 250-page scientific review that marijuana has a lower potential for abuse compared to other similarly restricted drugs, highlighting its role in medical treatment.


According to reports, researchers at the FDA are said to support reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule III controlled substance. The rationale behind this is that marijuana has a lower potential for abuse compared to other drugs with similar restrictions. Additionally, there is scientific support for the medicinal uses of marijuana.


Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, alongside substances such as heroin and LSD, making it one of the most dangerous substances. However, in 2022, US President Joe Biden has requested the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Attorney General to initiate an administrative review process to reconsider how such drugs are classified under federal law.


Federal scientists have concluded that marijuana does not possess a pronounced risk of abuse or addiction like other tightly regulated substances. Furthermore, they acknowledge the potential medical benefits of marijuana and therefore suggest removing it from the country's most strictly controlled drug category.


These recommendations were revealed in a comprehensive 250-page scientific review. The review was published online on Friday, January 12th, and its authenticity has been confirmed by an official from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


According to the explanation in the documents, "these databases are consistent in terms of different substances and time, although the misuse of cannabis has clear harmful consequences, including substance use disorders, these cases are relatively rare and of lower severity.


According to the FDA's controlled substance personnel, they recommend reclassifying marijuana because it meets three criteria: it has a lower potential for abuse compared to schedule I and II substances, it is accepted for medical use in the United States, and it poses a low or moderate risk of physical dependence for those who abuse it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse supports these recommendations.


This information marks the first public disclosure of federal health officials' contemplation about making significant changes to marijuana at the federal level. While the concerned authorities have not openly commented on their discussions, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug since 1970, alongside substances like heroin.


According to federal law, Schedule I drugs have no medical use and a high potential for abuse, with illegal use resulting in severe criminal penalties. Documents reveal that scientists from the FDA and National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule III drug, akin to ketamine and testosterone which can be obtained through a doctor's prescription.


Conclusions drawn from the review conducted by federal scientists suggest that although marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug, "it produces fewer severe outcomes compared to Schedule I or II substances.


This examiner points out that the misuse of marijuana can potentially lead to physical dependence and, in certain cases, even psychological dependence, although the likelihood of severe consequences is minimal.


The evaluation also indicates that there is some "scientific support" for the therapeutic uses of marijuana, including treating conditions such as anorexia, pain, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It is worth noting that federal officials have cautioned that their analysis does not imply that they have conclusively determined marijuana to be safe and effective to support FDA approval. Their main objective is to emphasize that data supports some medical uses of marijuana.


Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is considering this proposal and is expected to formally announce its decision in the coming months. The reclassification will undergo public comments and debates before the final decision is made.


According to federal statistics, marijuana is highly popular in the United States, with nearly 52 million people reported to have used it in 2021. Approximately 36 million individuals have reported using marijuana in the past month, placing it as the second most commonly used substance after alcohol and tobacco.


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