Need to reclassify cannabis

Now that the federal government has finally, belatedly given the OK to a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the same government needs to take another step and remove the legal hypocrisy that prevents such research in the first place.

The problem hindering medical cannabis is the fact that since the passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the statute’s most restrictive category, along with LSD, peyote and ecstasy, meaning that it is highly addictive, and has no medical value. Both statements are false. But the classification remains, thanks to the DEA, despite petitions from governors, state attorneys general, members of Congress, researchers and others over the decades requesting the change.

So if cannabis is considered dangerous and without medical value, what drugs are considered less dangerous and have medical benefits? The list of Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin. Hydrocodone, a lesser version of oxycodone, but commonly abused, is listed as a Schedule 3 drug. (The classifications go up to 5 (considered the least dangerous). For comparative purposes the anti-anxiety medicine Xanax is a Schedule 4, while cough medicine with less than 200 milligrams of codeine is considered Schedule 5.

Which means in a sensible world, the government would reclassify marijuana as Schedule 6, in a class of its own, since all other scheduled druges are potentially more dangerous than marijuana. Despite overwhelming science showing otherwise, and the fact that someone dies from an opioid overdose every 19 minutes in this country, cannabis is still considered more dangerous and addictive than oxycodone.

A scheduling change can come from President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, or the DEA, or Congress. Or all of the above.

Changing the Schedule 1 classification would allow research, and would keep interested parties (patients, doctors, dispensaries, states) from the threat of committing a felony simply by recommending or using a safe substance that has myriad medical uses, as demonstrated by scientists in other countries that have no restrictions on such research.

Anecdotal and scientific evidence from veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, some of whom were on the brink of suicide, and taking many other prescribed medications to no avail, report remarkable success in using cannabis. Washington state law allows cannabis use for ptsd; the U.S. military, of course, does not.

This mess needs fixing. It’s starts with rescheduling cannabis. For the sake of veterans, other patients and common sense.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

A pedestrian uses the crosswalk at 30th Street NE along 113th Avenue NE near Lake Stevens High School on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Stepped-up effort needed to reduce traffic deaths

Lawmakers, local officials and drivers, themselves, need to put more emphasis on traffic safety.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, Dec. 5

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

A floating offshore wind turbine platform is part of a six-turbine, 50 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. (Starkraft)
Editorial: Answer for environment, maritime jobs blowing in wind

Floating offshore wind farms could be a boon for maritime employers like Everett’s Dunlap Towing.

Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with imprinted RECEIVE, GIVE concept words
Editorial: Using care and caring on Giving Tuesday

Donations of money and time support work of charities. The times call for wise use of your dollars.

Burke: We’re not over covid, and I’m not over my frustration

My wife and I are vaxxed and boosted, yet tested positive. Denial has a role in why this disease persists.

Saunders; Statute of limitations protects women’s interests

Adult victims of sexual abuse should file criminal complaints, not wait decades to sue in civil court.

Comment: Our fear of big cities driven by politics, not facts

Yes, crime is up, but that’s true of rural, suburban and urban areas. Yet politics and media drive the narrative.

Comment: GOP win in redistricting case could backfire on party

If the Supreme Court backs the ‘independent legislature’ doctrine, more Democratic gerrymandering could result.

Comment: Steady wage growth isn’t what Fed wanted to see

The thinking goes that earning power drives inflation and will force more interest rate increases.

Most Read