10 Years Ago ...

Mar 13, 2009

Institute of Medicine, Medical Marijuana, science

On March 17, 1999, the Institute of Medicine -- in a report commissioned by the White House -- declared, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting and all can be mitigated by marijuana."

The report acknowledged the drawbacks of smoking and urged creation of a "rapid-onset, nonsmoked cannabinoid delivery system," but added, "In the meantime, there are patients with debilitating symptoms for whom smoked marijuana might provide relief." Studies published since 1999 have verified that marijuana vaporizers provide just the sort of rapid, nonsmoked delivery the IOM suggested.

Federal officials disregarded -- and sometimes baldly misstated -- the findings, prompting co-author Dr. John Benson to tell the New York Times in 2006 that the government "loves to ignore our report. ... They would rather it never happened."

Now, we have a new president who speaks regularly of letting scientific data, not ideology, drive policy, and who has said he would put an end to Drug Enforcement Administration raids aimed at undermining state medical marijuana laws. Is a new and more rational day finally dawning?

Those in the Washington, D.C., area can catch what should be a lively discussion of the IOM report and its impact hosted by the Cato Institute on March 17, featuring MPP executive director Rob Kampia and University of California researcher Dr. Donald Abrams, whose studies have further documented marijuana's medical value, and medical marijuana opponent Robert Dupont. Click here for details and reservation information.