California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for the state to study the legalization of marijuana has both sides in the smoldering pot debate pointing to research to bolster their positions, says the Sacramento Bee. Such recitation of conflicting marijuana studies can be manipulated and selected buffet-style to serve whatever political and health agenda is being touted.
In 1999, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy asked the Institute of Medicine to review evidence. The institute found that, “except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications.” Yet in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that marijuana has no health benefits and has known and proven harms. “Although we like to say we separate politics from science, with medical marijuana, that’s really difficult,” says Donald Abrams, a marijuana researcher at the University of California San Francisco. “It depends on who does the study, where it’s published and what their agenda is.”