by Rick Thompson
In the wake of the DEA's refusal to move cannabis from the list of the most addictive and non-medical drugs,TIME Magazine sought opinions on the future of canna-science from experts currently conducting research with marijuana.
The casual statements about the safety of cannabis made by the experts are noteworthy.
Scientists argue that studying marijuana is safe, and researching it shouldn't be such a difficult process. "A question that is not on the lips of researchers is whether or not the consumption of cannabis-based medicines is safe," says Gregory Gerdeman, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Eckerd College. "In the biomedical research community, it is universally understood that cannabis is a very safe, well-tolerated medicine."
A standard line used continually during the War on Drugs is that marijuana destroys your brain. Researchers say, that's not exactly true.
Studies have shown small structural changes in the brains of people who use marijuana, and researchers say there is little doubt that using marijuana has effects on the brain. However, whether those changes are actually bad, remains unknown. "This is an important question with tremendous policy implications," says Gerdeman. "While the media interpret such [changes] de facto as evidence of damage, they are within the range of normal human variation as far as we currently understand."
Those scientists were not happy with the government's maintaining schedule 1 status for marijuana, and they said so.
"I understand the cautious nature of the government, whose role is basically to protect its citizens, but it is disappointing that marijuana continues to be included on the DEA's list of the most dangerous drugs," says Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai, who studies the effects of marijuana on the brain.
"It is already widely understood that marijuana is valuable and safe as a palliative medicine, which undermines the tenets of the Schedule 1 status," says Gerdeman.
Other scientist quoted in the article include Vanderbilt University's Sachin Patel, who studies the cannabis plant, and Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School.
The seven things the scientists want to see studied include the long-term effects of cannabis use, how it helps in anxiety and it's effect on tumors and cancer. See the entire list, and read all the quotes, HERE.