The Food and Drug Administration says that “no sound scientific studies” supported the medical use of marijuana, reports the New York Times. The finding contradicts a 1999 review by a panel of highly regarded scientists. Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said yesterday’s statement resulted from a past combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and research agencies that concluded “smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment.” She said that any enforcement based on this finding would be done by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Eleven states have legalized medicinal use of marijuana, but DEA and the director of national drug control policy, John Walters, have opposed those laws.
A Supreme Court decision last year allowed the federal government to arrest anyone using marijuana, even for medical purposes and even in states that have legalized its use. Tom Riley, a spokesman for Walters, said the FDA statement would put to rest “the bizarre public discussion” that has led to some legalization of medical marijuana. A 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, found marijuana to be “moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.”