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Law & Policy

Patients Out of Time Position Statement in Support of De-scheduling Cannabis from December 2016

By Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN
July 30, 2018

Cannabis is a natural non-toxic plant that is biologically synergistic with human health and wellness:

Whereas, Cannabis has been used as a food source and an herbal medicine for thousands of years throughout the world; and,

Whereas, Cannabis in its natural form has a remarkably wide margin of safety and there have been no recorded overdose deaths by cannabis throughout centuries of human use; and,

Whereas, Cannabis in its fresh and natural form is not psychoactive, but rather a nutritious food source; and,

Whereas, Cannabis has a low risk of addiction with minor withdrawal symptomatology and, in fact, can be utilized in opioid harm reduction; and,

Whereas, Cannabis was inappropriately omitted from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1941 based on the reefer madness campaign that led to the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937{note]Bonnie RJ & Whitebread, II, CH (1974). The Marihuana Conviction: A History of the Marihuana Prohibition in the United States. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.[/note] that demonized the plant as a dangerous new drug; and,

Whereas, the United States Government had incorrectly and arbitrarily placed cannabis into Schedule 1 (forbidden category) of the controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 based on old myths and political ideology; and,

Whereas, in 1972 the “Shafer Commission” (The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse1) found that marihuana (cannabis) did not meet the criteria for Schedule I placement; and,

Whereas, in a petition to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to remove cannabis from Schedule I, the DEA’s own Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young ruled that cannabis did not belong in Schedule I, but the Director of the DEA rejected Judge Young’s ruling 2;3 and,

Whereas, the primary psychoactive substance in Cannabis is THC and the pharmaceutical product, dronabinol (synthetic THC in Sesame oil) was down-regulated from Schedule II to Schedule III of the controlled substances due to its safety and lack of diversion, and per the DEA’s own rules, a plant should not be more restricted than its primary psychoactive constituent; and,

Whereas, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia published a monograph, Cannabis Inflorescence, which provides quality and safety standards for this herbal plant;4 and

Whereas, the public has been allowed to grow and use herbal plants without a prescription; and,

Whereas, 8 states (AK, CA, CO, MA, ME, NV, OR, and WA) and Washington, DC allow use of cannabis by adults, causing much confusion between state and federal laws; and,

Whereas, the prohibition of cannabis has resulted in cruel punishment to countless individuals for simply growing the plant or possessing its harvested flowers; and,

Whereas, the prohibition of this plant has diverted our law enforcement and their resources away from violent criminals and true criminal activities; and,

Whereas, due to the cannabis prohibition numerous non-violent individuals have been imprisoned, resulting not only in destroying their lives, but adding pain and suffering to their loved ones in their absence; and,

Whereas, the cannabis plant is highly beneficial to our environment when allowed to grow naturally;5 and

Whereas, cannabis may be an essential nutrient for those suffering from health problems caused by an endocannabinoid deficiency;6 and,

Whereas, this resolution is not addressing pharmaceutical alterations of concentrates, or extractions of specific cannabinoids, or the synthesis of any of the active constituents of cannabis;

Therefore be it resolved that PATIENTS OUT OF TIME will:

  1. Promote the nutritional and healing value of this herbal plant.
  2. Educate its members and the public about the safe cultivation, storage, and use of herbal cannabis.
  3. Support the end of the cannabis prohibition.
  4. Encourage its members to use this resolution to petition their state legislators and the federal government to end the cannabis prohibition.
  5. Urge the DEA to de-schedule Cannabis and end the prohibition on this highly beneficial plant.
  6. Support pesticide- and herbicide-free cultivation of this plant by commercial growers and individuals.
  7. Support the immediate release of those convicted of marijuana growing, possessing, or consuming charges.

 

References:

  1. National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. (1972). Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding.  Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  2. Washington, DC, U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. (September 6, 1988). In the matter of marijuana rescheduling petition, Dkt. No. 86-22, opinion, recommended ruling, findings of fact, conclusion of law, and decision of administrative law judge.
  3. Young ruled that, “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.”  Young continued with: “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”
  4. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. (2013). Cannabis Inflorsence. ScottsValley, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
  5. Clarke RC & Pate DW. (1997). Economic and environmental potential of cannabis (pp. 192-211), in Cannabis in Medical Practice; A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana, edited by ML Mathre. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.
  6. Russo EB. (2016). Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: Current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes.  Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 1(1):154-165.  DOI:10.1089/can.2016.0009.

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN has 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse. Her nursing career began in the US Navy Nurse Corps for 4 years, followed by acute care medical-surgical nursing and specializing in addictions nursing in 1987. She received her Masters degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1985 and her masters thesis was on marijuana disclosure to health care professionals. Since that time Mrs. Mathre has studied the medical use of cannabis. She is the cofounder and President of Patients Out of Time, an educational charity created in 1995 to educate health care professionals and the public about the therapeutic use of cannabis. She is the editor of Cannabis in Medical Practice: A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis (1997) and co-editor of Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology (2002) and has written numerous papers and chapters on the topic. Ms. Mathre is also the President and Founding member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association. She works as an independent consultant on medical cannabis and addictions nursing; has authored several position papers on medical cannabis, testified at legislative hearings and served as an expert witness on the topic.

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