Did You Know?
Little Known Facts in the Medical Marijuana Debate
1.Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, meaning it is considered to have a "high potential for abuse," "no currently accepted medical use," and "a lack of accepted safety." Rescheduling marijuana to the less restrictive Schedule II or III (45 KB) remains a contentious issue.
2.The University of Mississippi has grown marijuana (including a placebo with virtually no THC) for US government-approved research since 1968. Each year the university grows 1.5 acres, 6.5 acres, or none, depending upon demand.
3.The first cannabis-based prescription medicine, Sativex, was launched in the United Kingdom on June 21, 2010. Sativex is a mouth spray approved to treat spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
4.Eight of the 10 states that had legalized medical marijuana by 2006 saw a decrease in teen use of marijuana from 1999 to 2006.
5.The states with the three highest possession limits among the 16 states with legal medical marijuana are Oregon (24 plants), California (18 plants), and New Mexico (16 plants).
6.Smoked or inhaled marijuana takes only a few minutes to reach the brain, where a series of cellular reactions occur that ultimately produce the "high" feeling. When eating or drinking marijuana, this process can take up to an hour.
7.When swallowing marijuana (in teas, brownies, etc.), the main active ingredient, Delta-9-THC, is transformed by the liver into the more psychoactively powerful Delta-11-THC.
8.In 1978 the US government started the Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program. Although closed for new patients in 1991, it still supplies 320-360 marijuana cigarettes monthly to each of the four seriously ill patients remaining in the program.
9.According to FDA data obtained by our filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, marijuana was not reported as a primary cause of death at all between Jan. 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005 (the time for which the data were available).
10.The US Department of Justice, in an Oct. 19, 2009 memo, advised federal prosecutors not to target medical marijuana patients whose actions are in compliance with the law in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
11.Marijuana contains over 400 different identifiable chemical constituents, including steroids and Vitamin A.
12.The British Lung Foundation reported in Nov. 2002 that 3-4 marijuana cigarettes a day are as dangerous to the lungs as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day.
13.A UCLA study presented on May 24, 2006 found no association between marijuana and lung cancer, and it suggested that marijuana may even have "some protective effect."
14.Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner ruled on Feb. 12, 2007 that "there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes."
15.The 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, commissioned by the US government, recommended that under certain narrow conditions marijuana should be medically available to some patients, even though "numerous studies suggest that marijuana smoke is an important risk factor in the development of respiratory disease." Read more about the report's conclusions.