FDA’s Lies Kill

Ironically on April 20 in 2006, FDA released a statement entitled “Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a Medicine.” In it FDA states that “there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies … concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use.” That’s three lies from the government’s medical science arm in just one sentence!

FDA keeps marijuana in Schedule 1, the most-restrictive category which requires it to have no medical value. This is despite over 24,000 studies on government-funded PubMed (National Institutes of Health) on Cannabis, and 47 states having found some form of medical safety and efficacy for marijuana. With not one death due to toxicity, it has been used as medicine for several thousand years around the world. Marijuana was even an active ingredient in hundreds of safe, popular, and effective over-the-counter medicines sold by pharmacists and made by many of today’s drug companies. Smoking is the oldest and most-popular form of administration, and has been found to be slightly protective for lung cancer. All the money all the governments could throw at it over the last 50 years couldn’t prove harm from smoking marijuana using good science, not even Tashkin.

FDA’s anti-fact, anti-history, anti-science, anti-Congressional intent (thus unconstitutional), and anti-patient stance on marijuana is contrary to the wishes of 91% of the public, and gives scientific legitimacy to a loony law written for explicitly racist purposes. It’s the corner FDA painted itself into by maintaining this 51-year lie, now hamstringing its efforts to regulate CBD. For FDA, Cannabis is Schrödinger’s Plant: “Harmful and dangerous thus needing to be banned as well as safe and effective thus needing to be regulated.” Not all in medicine are opposed, in 2008 the American College of Physicians stated its support for the use of THC, research on the benefits of medical marijuana, review of the federal scheduling of marijuana, and exemption from criminal prosecution. The following year, the American Medical Association (AMA) made similar recommendations: “To help facilitate scientific research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, the AMA adopted new policy urging the federal government to review marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance.” So the doctors are on board, just not FDA.

BTW, the Federal government actually sells marijuana flowers to researchers for $2,495/kg. It’s not an “illegal drug” and it’s not a “dangerous drug,” it’s merely a controlled substance; controlled so only the people they like and some who pay them millions can profit from or be treated with it. It’s a small club and we ain’t in it, to paraphrase George Carlin.

But the 14th Amendment guarantees all citizens “equal protection of the laws.” And both Congressional testimony for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 as well as Nixon’s tapes reveals the explicitly racist intent behind both. History reveals the success at their stated intention: blacks are arrested 3.5 times more than whites per-capita, despite similar usage rates. Millions thereby lost their right to vote and were saddled with criminal records and the resulting economic disenfranchisement. This is the legacy FDA props up by keeping marijuana in Schedule 1. Compounding it is the “New Normal:” police get a warrant and seize assets but don’t prosecute, therefore a higher court never gets a chance to review the law and they keep the assets with no cost of prosecution. While a Win-Win for the State, it cynically and intentionally avoids the spirit and letter of the Constitution, which is the supreme law controlling the government.

Even Justice Clarence Thomas agrees the Feds have no business regulating intRAstate marijuana: “In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the ‘powers delegated’ to the Federal Government are ‘few and defined’, while those of the States are ‘numerous and indefinite.’”

Ninety-eight percent of the U.S. population lives in a state with some form of Cannabis reform contrary to Federal law. How can that even be legal? It’s legal for the states’ citizens because of the Tenth Amendment delegating to the States everything else not mentioned in the Constitution, such as licensing of doctors and nurses, the age of consent and marriage, tobacco, drugs, or illegal agriculture such as marijuana. Conversely, it is unconstitutional for the Federal to maintain Marijuana in Schedule 1, as 47 of the United STATES have indeed found medical value, and the states have a say in it as the Federal is nothing but a collection of them.

As for FDA’s bad science, this is what Drug Enforcement Administration Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ruled in 1988: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”

Coupled with its laissez-faire attitude as the catastrophic opioid addiction and overdose crisis exploded in recent years, banning marijuanabut allowing easy access to deadly pills makes FDA appear hopelessly corrupt and incompetent, willing to let citizens die in order to protect Big Pharma profits. As we saw with the Covid vaccine issue, FDA’s loss of the public’s trust and confidence has seriously tragic consequences.

To reform, FDA needs to embrace the science by descheduling completely and forming an Office of Cannabis, like the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, and staff it with Canna-believers not prohibitionists. Its mission should be to help manufacturers get to market fast and inexpensively with high quality products and transparency in content and production. The public is not served by making good products hard to market, just as it is not served by letting bad products easy to get to market because of FDA’s head-in-the-sand approach. And especially today with CBD.

While we’ll never get “our” XXIst Amendment or “our” DSHEA, but this would be a good apology for 51 years of FDA lies.

Click to download: US Food and Drug Administration “Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a Medicine,” April 20, 2006.

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