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REPORT: Government Scientists Considering Risky Marijuana Reclassification

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2024
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By David Lewis Schaefer

Medical Marijuana Close Up Cannabis Buds With Doctors Prescription For Weed. Medicinal Pot With Stethoscope.

Although 38 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, while 24 states and the District have legalized recreational use, the drug remains a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. But as a recently-unveiled federal government document reveals, some officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse now favor reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule III drug – a move that would make it legally available with a doctor’s prescription and potentially open the door to far more widespread abuse.

According to a New York Times report published on January 12, a 250-page “scientific review” provided to a Texas lawyer who sued the Department of Health and Human Services (which oversees the FDA) for its release and then published it online found that marijuana “does not produce serious outcomes compared to drugs in Schedules I or II.” While the review acknowledged that marijuana “abuse” leads to physical dependence, it claimed that “the likelihood of serious outcomes is low.”

Although the Times reports that federal officials “cautioned that their analysis was not meant to suggest that they had established the safety and effectiveness of marijuana in a way that would support FDA approval,” and said that the data only supported “some medical uses,” their findings were apparently sufficient to lead the FDA to advise the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to recategorize it. DEA is expected to announce whether it will take that recommendation within a few months.

Yet having been scarred by the recent admissions from former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci that much of the advice they offered the public about COVID-19’s likely origins and the means to prevent its spread (masks, six-foot distancing) was based on shaky premises, we members of the American public would be justified in viewing new claims ostensibly based on “science” with a degree of skepticism. This is particularly true when those claims conflict with everyday observation and experience.

A Wall Street Journal story which appeared just days after the Times story offers prime evidence that government scientists may be underselling the risks of marijuana use. As author Julie Wernau details, “more potent cannabis and more frequent use are contributing to higher rates of psychosis, especially in young people.”

The scientists that Wernau consulted reported that “thousands of teenagers and young adults… have developed delusions and paranoia after using cannabis.” Most concerning of all, the problem has grown as legalization efforts have made marijuana more widely available.

Marijuana strains today are also “many times as potent as strains common three decades ago.” The average THC content (the stuff in marijuana that gets users high) of cannabis seized by the DEA rose from 4 per cent in 1995 to 15 percent in 2021, while “many products advise THC concentrations of up to 90%.”

In other words, this isn’t your grandparents’ or even your parents’ pot.

Doctors told Wernau that “psychotic episodes following cannabis use could be more likely to lead to chronic psychiatric problems than those following consumption of other illicit drugs.” Even leaving aside the likelihood that marijuana can serve as a “gateway” to the use of other Class I substances like heroin, it seems marijuana might not be as harmless as FDA scientists would have us believe.

A 2017 study cited by Wernau also found that “even one psychotic episode following cannabis use was associated with a 47% chance” of the user’s developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, with the risk being highest for people in the 16 to 25 age range, and higher than “for substances including amphetamines, hallucinogens, opioids, and alcohol.”

Short of such horrifying risks, a report issued by the National Council on Drug Abuse in 2020 found that “marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.” A 2021 study reported in the Chicago Sun Times, meanwhile, observes, “Research consistently shows that the more frequently a college student uses cannabis, the lower their GPA tends to be, the more they report skipping class and the longer it takes them to graduate. Probably the most direct impact to academic performance is a relationship between marijuana use and impaired attention and memory.”

These findings should hardly surprise parents who have observed the behavior of their offspring using much more powerful forms of marijuana than the parents may have indulged in when they were younger.

Even though the HHS review is said to have offered justification only for “medical” uses of marijuana, as attested by a doctor’s prescription, it isn’t hard to imagine how such prescriptions will become widely available as the risk officially attached to marijuana use is lowered. But given the dangers listed in Wernau’s story and in reports by the National Council on Drug Abuse and other authorities, Americans should be concerned about the use of America’s most popular illegal drug becoming even more widespread.

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross.

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Jerry L Finger
Jerry L Finger
3 months ago

If more Seniors smoked Cannabis and took advantage of the edibles, their pill consumption would drop considerably and that’s what Big Pharma doesn’t want to see. LIGHT EM UP PEOPLE you won’t be disappointed. I could never understand why us BOOMERS haven’t been more vocal about WEED, most if not all of us smoked back in the 60’s and 70’s and now it’s LEGAL……….Enjoy it……I do

Phyllis A
Phyllis A
3 months ago

I’m in a bit of a rush but I wanted to make a quick comment on this subject. I am an AMAC member and usually agree with your articles but I have to say I believe you are way off on this one. Let me say that I have called senators and representatives for over a decade now explaining to them that I am a college grad BSIS and JM both from accredited universities, I am a business owner, a mom, and a Christian. I volunteer in my community, and I vote conservative. All that said I smoke marijuana every evening. I have since December 7 1978. I first started as a rebellious teen but as I grew up it became more of a relaxing time at the end of a day. Now in my senior years I have learned that marijuana is wonderful for IBS, insomnia, and PTSD (not to mention epilepsy).
I know some insist that marijuana is a gateway drug. Let me assure you it is not. The gateway is having to get it from the same guy that sells heroine and crack. How often do you think a doctor would try to sell you a little cocaine when you are looking for a prescription of marijuana?

ROBIN
ROBIN
3 months ago

I have to say, pot really does help a lot of people, I have witnessed this myself many times. It should be legal in opinion if that is what you choose to do…

Donna
Donna
3 months ago

I have severe chronic pain due to a royally “messed up” neck, spine and nearly every joint pin my body – I am anaphylactically allergic to NSAIDS – I have used cannabis for DECADES as it is the only thing I that can control my pain – it even is more effective than opioids. I have NEVER “advanced” to any other drugs – i am about as conservative as it gets. I WISH it was available legally – all of my doctors and specialists are on board with my use of cannabis for my quality of life.

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

“Cannabis is 114 times safer than drinking alcohol”

“Cannabis may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say”

“Cannabis may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say New study: We should stop fighting Cannabis legalization and focus on alcohol and tobacco instead By Christopher Ingraham February 23

Compared with other recreational drugs — including alcohol — Cannabis may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.

Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.”
-Washington Post

“The report discovered that Cannabis is 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Researchers were able to determine this by comparing the lethal doses with the amount of typical use. Through this approach, Cannabis had the lowest mortality risk to users out of all the drugs they studied. In fact—because the numbers were crossed with typical daily use—Cannabis is the only drug that tested as “low risk.”
-Complex

Ronald Woeber
Ronald Woeber
3 months ago

You can’t regulate morality and we sure don’t need more federal employees which is at 3.3 million as a country maybe we should go back to Quakers days

Patriot Ann
Patriot Ann
3 months ago

I always thought it ridiculous that MJ is a schedule I drug.I am a former pharmacy tech and have been an advocate for natural cures for decades.While I can see that the stuff today is more potent , I can also see more parents leaving it up to the government to raise their kids. Have you never thought of educating your children on the dangers of illicit drug use and exhibiting some control over what they do ? I have seen positive effects of using MJ for chronic conditions under supervision and negative effects of allowing use under no supervision, so I guess the real question would be , how much do you want to teach your children ? The same course of action applies to alcohol, cigarettes or vaping, take some responsibility for your own life and that of your children unless you want to see more of Orwells 1984 coming true, as it is today.

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

Legalize federally now. What’s legal to possess and consume in nearly half of The United States should not make you a criminal in states still being governed by woefully ignorant prohibitionist politicians.

Cannabis consumers in all states deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

Plain and simple!

Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

michaelR
michaelR
3 months ago

MJ should never have been placed in the same category as heroin and other lethal drugs. It’s beyond horrendous to have someone sit in a cage for several years just because they got caught with MJ. Then after their mean spirited political laws jail people,…. they dump alcohol down their throats?? .

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide Federally Now! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
3 months ago

Alcohol does as much if not more damage so you can’t argue against one while rallying for the other. I live in Nevada where recreational use is legal but I don’t partake; that’s my CHOICE. Dunno, if Biden gets re-elected or another Obama, maybe I’ll start!

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize cannabis nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

The prohibitionist view on cannabis is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of cannabis prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a cannabis prohibitionist to do?

Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Cannabis Legalization Efforts!

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national cannabis policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-cannabis, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

Politicians who continue to demonize Cannabis, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Cannabis possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through cannabis home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose cannabis, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

The People have spoken! Get on-board with Cannabis Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
3 months ago

Every major poll in the nation shows that The Vast Majority of Americans favor The Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide!

“Americans Favor Legalizing Cannabis Support surged 10 percentage points in past year””
-Gallup Poll

“A solid majority of voters nationwide favor legalizing and regulating cannabis similar to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are currently regulated. Most also dont believe it should be a crime for people to smoke cannabis in the privacy of their own homes”
-Rasmussen Poll

“Americans favor making cannabis legal for adults, according to the findings of a CNN/ORC International survey released late Monday. The percentage is the highest ever reported by the survey, which has been tracking public opinion on the issue since 1973, and marks a 12 percentage point jump in support since the last time pollsters posed the question in 2012”
-CNN Poll                  

Ed Ross
Ed Ross
3 months ago

It’s about time.

BillBoy Baggins
BillBoy Baggins
3 months ago

Give it a rest; no one is buying it. Boomers have too many decades of experience and observation We know better.

anna hubert
anna hubert
3 months ago

….and deliver us from government scientists and experts Amen

Ron Bottoms
Ron Bottoms
3 months ago

I don’t know if it is safer now or more potent but I do know that people never stopped smoking weed just because it was illegal. If it is legal it can be managed safely instead of sold illicitly and perhaps laced with… Fentanyl. Seriously – the article itself says the THC content in cannabis seized rose from 4% to 15%. Because it isn’t regulated. It is black market. I smoked weed back when I was teen and stopped – never turned to hard drugs, and I still became a responsible citizen, and as I age into later years I would consider the possibility of cannabis for ailments because I’ve heard of the benefits for cancer among other things. Plus – Dr’s prescribe it so…

Michael
Michael
3 months ago

The re-class to schedule III will be an election year tactic for the Democrats.

JDH
JDH
3 months ago

I do not smoke pot and I would strongly encourage others not to make a habit of any recreational intoxicants. But I also have a *DEEPLY* held disagreement that the govt should be allowed to regulate any of the consumables I grow in my garden or how I consume them. It matters not if it’s tomatoes, beans, potatoes, onions, squash, marijuana, corn liquor or whatever.
For if we say it’s ok for the govt to regulate *one* consumable crop, then we grant them the authority to regulate *all* consumable crops. It’s none of the federal govt’s business what I grow for my own use & consumption.

Jrlly
Jrlly
3 months ago

I agree that mariJ is much more potent these days one hit can get you much higher than one shot of alcohol so legalization should be to those over 21 meanwhile educate the danger of any smoke inhalents. Medicinally it is a very good alternative to big Pharma poisons.

Kevin Griggs
Kevin Griggs
3 months ago

The problem isn’t some kid smoking a joint, it’s products like 90% cannabis oil that will cause problems. Especially if they’re using heavily.

USN Retired
USN Retired
3 months ago

Vladimir Lenin knew the power of alcohol as a method for controlling the peasantry in the 1920’s during the Bolsheviks take over of Russia and conversion to communism.
The Democrats realize the same can be accomplished with use of cannabis. History repeats.

Bill
Bill
3 months ago

The future is Idiocracy. When you’re stupid, which way do you vote?- Democrat!

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
3 months ago

Fat dumb and stupid is how the socialists want their useless eaters.
So go on, keep Doing what your told.
Not me.

Morbious
Morbious
3 months ago

I begged my kids to simply wait till they were mid twenties with brains fully formed. The use of todays potent weed , especially in vaping form is extremely dangerous to teens. I know of one case of permanent pyschosis induced by weed and am unhappily witnessing a family members kid slipping into it as we speak. This will get worse before better. Whats needed is messaging similar to that used in regard to cigarettes, which are rarely seen among the under forty set.

Garyk
Garyk
3 months ago

Sadly ,many lives has been ruined by marijuana.
Episodes of increased mental hallucinations, delusions, outbreaks of anger and violence occur frequently.
In conversation with law enforcement I was told that violence and abuse from mentally affected individuals is their number one problem.
They never know if the person is mentally unstable or if its the affect of the drugs or alchohol, marijuana included.
Studies have shown that many ,with heavy or higher thc content react as mentally unstable.
Why does the government always think they have the answer but fail miserably at everything they touch??

uncleferd
uncleferd
3 months ago

Being stoned won’t make President Biden or any others of the “miscreant left” look any better… at least not to any thought-enabled individual.

granky
granky
3 months ago

When I was in college in the 60’s possession of any amount of marijuana was a felony, I didn’t know anyone who used drugs, never saw or smelled marijuana until I became a police officer in 1967. Now, I don’t know anyone whose family has not been damaged by drugs, my own youngest sister died from an overdose. Just like lowering education standards, relaxing drug laws harms everyone.

VikkiC
VikkiC
3 months ago

And we wonder what is wrong with our kids with all the smokin, dopin and drinking going on…Weed is now a gateway drug…it’s a much stronger variety than what was used back in the 60’s and 70’s. Also, if you own a dog and take them to a dog park or walk them on the sidewalk, be careful what they pick up and eat…Weed is highly toxic to dogs, and people throw their weed butts on the ground. Ask Dana Perino…

Kaiju
Kaiju
3 months ago

All part of the Marxist takedown of America. Make the younger generation incapable of thorough analysis of information, ability to muster “stick-to-it-iveness” and desire to be productive. In my 22+ years in business, I’ve observed that my high school-aged clients, in ever-increasing numbers, without the knowledge of their parents, have medical marijuana cards and are dependent on the drug for their emotional “well-being” (in their view). They are without goals, ambition, courage, strength and healthy attachment. The Marxist are like 5 year olds. Give them an inch, thinking they will stop, but they want a foot. Give them that foot, they want a yard. Give them that yard…it NEVER stops. Government scientists? No, Marxist TOOLS. Wake up, Patriots.

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
3 months ago

The funniest part of all this is that while marijuana destroys your brain in short order (less that 20 years of use) the leftist are all about banning cigarettes and vape. Cigarettes and vaping can be addicting and can cause cancer over a long period of time. while the left wants these banned they are all pushing to legalize marijuana to fry their brains.

Garyk
Garyk
3 months ago

Interesting that the medical community is anti smoking ciggarettes and cigars but no mention of lung cancer from smoking pot??
Or Insurance companies refusing to cover people,maybe that’s soon??

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