Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske offered a correction on Friday to the erroneous comments he made regarding marijuana’s medical value. His new statement, however, is nearly as problematic as the old.
Sometimes you make a mistake and you work very hard to correct it. That happens. I should’ve clearly said ’smoked’ marijuana and then gone on to say that this is clearly a question that should be answered by the medical community.
Kerlikowske continued, saying, “The FDA has not determined that smoked marijuana has a [medical] value.”
While it’s refreshing to see a drug czar who is capable of admitting a mistake, his new statement still falls short of an honest assessment of marijuana’s medical value. The FDA’s position on medical marijuana (which is derived from a statement the agency released in 2006) is largely political and was rejected by the medical community following its release. The FDA ignored the government’s own report, published by the Institute of Medicine in 1999, which states, “there are some limited circumstances in which we recommend smoking marijuana for medical uses.”
Numerous studies have found specific medical uses for smoked marijuana, and some of the most interesting research has been done since the FDA released its statement in 2006. Several studies from the University of California, for example, have found that marijuana is highly effective at treating neuropathic pain, a type of nerve pain for which traditional pain medications are notoriously inadequate.
The drug czar’s correction falls short.