The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has urged President Donald Trump to take a closer look at a proposed bill to legalise medical cannabis.
Key points:The NAS released its annual report on medical cannabis and other drugs, highlighting its role in treating a number of diseasesThe report recommends the president reconsider his positionOn Thursday, the NAS released a report on the impact of medical marijuana and other medicines on public health and well-being, which said that the cannabis market could generate up to $2 trillion a year in revenue by 2026.
The report comes at a time when the Trump administration is looking to relax federal restrictions on the sale of cannabis and a move is expected to be unveiled later this week.
The NAS said it believed the “significant and growing evidence” that medical cannabis could help treat a wide range of illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, multiple myeloma and multiple sclerosis-related epilepsy.
“Medical cannabis is a promising treatment option for a range of diseases and conditions that require more than the current system of controlled medications,” said the report.
“As evidence accumulates that cannabis can help treat the conditions that currently are the focus of the federal government’s anti-marijuana policy, the Trump Administration should consider taking a closer, more comprehensive look at this promising treatment.”
A number of health experts and medical organisations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, have expressed concerns about the potential for marijuana to be harmful to people who have specific health conditions.
“The current federal restrictions are a barrier to innovation in medicine and our nation’s physicians are already working to ensure the safety of patients in the process of researching the potential benefits of medical and recreational cannabis,” said Dr Sarah Rees, chair of the NAS’s medical cannabis task force.
“It is imperative that the Trump administrations actions regarding medical cannabis are based on sound scientific evidence, not political ideology.”
It also recommended that the administration consider taking into account the fact that cannabis may be a viable treatment option that is less expensive, safer and more effective than current medications.
“Marijuana is not the answer to all of our medical and health problems,” Dr Rees said.
“However, it is a safe, effective, non-intoxicating and non-toxic alternative to traditional medicines.”
We urge the administration to consider the evidence and take a hard look at whether medical cannabis is more effective, safer, less expensive and less toxic than current medicine.”‘
An enormous opportunity’The report also noted that the “huge opportunity” for medical cannabis was in the form of reducing the number of people in need of opioids.”
There are currently over 100,000 opioid prescriptions being filled annually for Americans suffering from pain,” it said.”
For these people, opioids are the primary treatment for chronic pain.
By making cannabis available to treat pain, it could reduce opioid prescriptions and increase access to alternative treatments for chronic illnesses.
“Medical cannabis, which was legalized in 20 states and the District of Columbia in January 2018, has become increasingly popular in the US.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 60% of Americans say they use medical cannabis to treat their pain.