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Resource Document on Opposition to Cannabis as Medicine

Approved by the Joint Reference Committee, October 2018

  • 2018

The medical use of cannabis has received considerable attention as several states have voted to remove civil and criminal penalties for patients with qualifying conditions. Yet, on a national level, cannabis remains a schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (1). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for approving treatments after appropriate and rigorous study, has not approved cannabis as a safe and effective drug for any indication (2). This juxtaposition of practice and policy has prompted many professional medical organizations to issue official positions on the topic. This statement reflects the position of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) on the use of cannabis for medical and psychiatric indications, taking into account the current evidence base and statements from other medical organizations. It does not cover the use of synthetic cannabis-derived medications such as Marinol and Syndros (dronabinol), Cesamet (nabilone) or Epidiolex (contains a purified drug substance cannabidiol, one of more than 80 active chemicals in cannabis) which have been studied and approved by the FDA for specific indications.

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