“Experts say listing cannabis among the world’s deadliest drugs ignores decades of scientific and medical data. But attempts to delist it have met with decades of bureaucratic inertia and political distortion.”
A battle has begun to change marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug, and speculation is growing about the possibility of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reviewing this designation by summer 2016. Those who know the history of marijuana's classification as a Schedule I Drug, among heroin and methamphetamines as world’s most dangerous drugs, are the ones who campaign for its rescheduling the hardest. Attorney General John Mitchell of the Nixon administration placed marijuana in this category as part of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I Drugs are deemed to have no medical use and high potential for abuse, where marijuana has been since its inception. The belief that marijuana can not be used in a medical setting is being challenged by the medical community and majority of U.S. doctors, which leads the conversation about its rescheduling. “Of course cannabis has medical uses,” says Donald Abrams, integrative oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco and one of the few researchers who has been able to obtain government-approved supplies of research cannabis for human trials. “Not a day goes by when I’m not recommending cannabis to patients for nausea, loss of appetite, pains, insomnia, and depression --it works.” In 2009 the American Medical Association recommended the DEA review marijuana’s Schedule I status. And a 2014 Medscape survey of roughly 1,500 doctors found 56 percent supported legalizing medical cannabis nationally, with 82 percent support among responding oncologists. “If physicians are in support of cannabis as a medicine, why is it not medicine?” Abrams asks. Optimistically for Abrams and a number of Americans, the FDA and Health and Human Services have given the DEA new rescheduling recommendation, and a potential change in scheduling could happen by this summer.