Marijuana For Chronic Pain: More Supply Needed?

Marijuana For Chronic Pain: More Supply Needed?

Congressional pressure appears to be mounting on the Drug Enforcement Administration regarding research on the potential medical benefits of marijuana.

The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control heard Wednesday from two U.S. Senators (Senator Cory Booker D – New Jersey and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand D – New York) who want the DEA to loosen its restrictions on the supply of marijuana available for research purposes.

“It is long past time that we do more serious scientific research into the medicinal efficacy of marijuana,” said Daniel S. Bennett, M.D., CEO of the National Pain Foundation. “Anecdotal evidence that marijuana helps in chronic pain conditions has been mounting. The DEA’s monopoly on research supply is hurting science and perhaps by extension, many of the 100 million chronic pain patients in the U.S.”

Officials from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Food and Drug Administration agreed with the Senators and expressed support at the hearing for removing barriers to research that have been created.

The supply of marijuana available for research purposes is grown at the University of Mississippi. Researchers have criticized the DEA for refusing to license additional marijuana producers, which they say is preventing the study of marijuana’s medical benefits and the development of marijuana-based medicines.

They have also criticized the poor quality and low potency of the marijuana that is currently available, which they say further hinders meaningful research. A DEA administrative law judge ruled that licensing additional producers would be in the public interest, but the DEA has refused to follow the non-binding ruling.

“The DEA is waging an irrational war on marijuana that is costing people their lives. They are standing in the way of research and the development of potentially life-saving medications,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “While the DEA is clinging to reefer madness, there are seriously ill people clinging to their lives who could be benefitting from medical marijuana. The DEA is preventing children with seizure disorders and people suffering from diseases like cancer and AIDS from accessing a medication that their doctors recommend and could dramatically improve the quality of their lives.”

Medical marijuana is available in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

While news of a report by the Journal of American Medical Association issued this week indicates that some of the medical benefits of marijuana might be overblown,  that same report indicates that chronic neuropathic pain and cancer pain sufferers have experienced reduced pain from  cannabinoids, chemicals in marijuana that produce pharmacologic effects inside the body.

 

 

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. P J at 9:13 pm

    I want to know just who the heck makes up the DEA agency ? All the MDs I’ve
    Seen recently speak of ” the DEA ” much like we spoke of ” the boogie man ”
    when we were kids , yet no one knows who they really are !
    I am so sick of someone controlling my medical needs from afar ! We are not all cut from the same cloth & have different needs that should be addressed by our licensed physician !
    MMJ should be legal period ! It is far better than the chemically laden medication
    That causes side effects, that more often than not require different more dangerous drugs ! Marijuana is a natural, God given plant , & if you believe in the Bible then you should remember God said he will provide our every need ! We use other plant based meds , why does the flipping’ DEA have the right to deny us something God meant for us to use ? Could it be. Because big Pharma would lose billions ? Could that alone be the absolute truth ?

  2. Dave Campbell at 2:43 am

    Your article is quite impressive and also informative. Its true medical marijuana today has great value and why not, it is providing effective results for pain and also in many health issues.

  3. Diane at 4:45 pm

    My husband has been able to cut his legal drug use in half and he can eat again now that the drugs tearing up his gut have been decreased. VA now says he will have to stop the medical marijuana if he wants then to get any pain meds prescribed to him. >.< When will the madness end?

  4. nan at 2:27 pm

    Minnesota has MMJ, but who can use it is extremely narrow, and none is for smoking. Maybe 200 people have permission to get their liquid or pill MMJ. Those of us who are being yanked off pain meds can’t get it… the federal government has to push for widespread MMJ.

  5. Sam at 8:02 pm

    It’s a shame that such an effective medication and pain reliever remains illegal in most places because…? Every reason for its illegality has been thoroughly debunked and yet it remains illegal. Yay for freedom!

  6. Stephanie at 7:06 pm

    i believe it’s called a “Police state.” How did the DEA get such power? How many more medicines and drugs will they assume control over?