The oldest state medical society in the U.S. is urging medical and scientific communities to conduct large-scale clinical trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical use.
Last year, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) opposed a medical marijuana ballot question due to the absence of large-scale clinical trials on the drug’s safety and effectiveness in treating medical conditions. But in October 2012, MMS President Dr. Richard V. Aghababian sent a letter to the U.S. Drug and Enforcement Administration, requesting the agency to change the current classification of marijuana “so that its potential medicinal use by humans may be further studied and potentially regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.”
On Feb. 7, the DEA responded to Dr. Aghababian’s letter, saying research on Schedule I substances are allowed “provided that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined the researcher to be qualified and competent and the research protocol to be meritorious.” Therefore, if the researchers meet those criteria, they are required to obtain a registration to begin their study on a Schedule I controlled substance, which in this case is marijuana.
“DEA has never denied a research registration for marijuana and/or THC if the Secretary of the HHS has determined that the applicant is qualified and competent and the research protocol is meritorious,” the DEA said in the letter. “Currently, there are active researchers registered with DEA to perform research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, and marijuana derivatives such as cannabidiol and cannabinol.”
Given the information, Dr. Aghababian is now encouraging researchers to “identify all treatment protocols that would apply to a standard pharmaceutical therapy, including indications, contraindications, dosages, length of therapy, side effects, and more.”