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04-21-2006, 11:19 AM
WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that "no sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of marijuana, contradicting a 1999 review by a panel of highly regarded scientists.

The announcement inserts the health agency into yet another fierce political fight.

Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said that the statement resulted from a past combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and research agencies that concluded that "smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment." She said that the FDA was issuing the statement because of numerous inquiries from Capitol Hill but would likely do nothing to enforce it.

"Any enforcement based on this finding would need to be by DEA, since this falls outside of FDA's regulatory authority," she said.

Eleven states, including Washington, have legalized medicinal uses of marijuana, but the Drug Enforcement Administration and the nation's drug czar, John Walters, have opposed those efforts. A Supreme Court decision last year allowed the federal government to arrest anyone using marijuana, even in states that have legalized its use..........

.......The FDA statement directly contradicts a 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's most prestigious scientific evaluative agency. That review found marijuana to be "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting."

"I know what it does for me medically," said JoAnna McKee, co-founder of The Green Cross Patient Co-op, which connects people with marijuana for medical use. McKee, who lives in Seattle, smokes marijuana to control the pain caused by a spinal cord injury. "It lowers the pain. It stops the muscle spasms. It stops the nausea."

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http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/health/267558_pot21.html