U.S. Surgeon General: Marijuana Can Be Helpful for Certain Conditions

Surgeon General says preliminary data shows drug can aid certain medical conditions; comments may boost pressure to redesignate drug under federal law.

Haaretz
In this April 19, 2014 file photo, partygoers dance to live music and smoke pot on the first of two days at the annual 4/20 marijuana festival in Denver.
In this April 19, 2014 file photo, partygoers dance to live music and smoke pot on the first of two days at the annual 4/20 marijuana festival in Denver.Credit: AP
Haaretz

The United States' top doctor said that medical marijuana can help some patients in comments on Wednesday that may boost pressure on the Justice Department to redesignate the drug under federal law.

Dr. Vivek Hallegere MurthyCredit: AP

In an interview on "CBS This Morning," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the medical effectiveness of marijuana had to be shown scientifically and much more information about it was coming.

"We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, marijuana can be helpful," said Murthy, who became surgeon general in December.

"I think we have to use that data to drive policymaking, and I'm very interested to see where that data takes us."

The Justice Department designates marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, a category for drugs that have no accepted medical value and have a high potential for abuse.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, according to the Drug Policy Alliance advocacy group.

Florida also allows a narrow use of medical marijuana. Two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, another advocacy group, said in a statement that Murthy's remarks mean that President Barack Obama should direct Attorney General Eric Holder to begin changing how the department categorizes marijuana.

"Dr. Murthy's comments add to a growing consensus in the medical community that marijuana can help people suffering from painful conditions," Angell said.

The Justice Department had no immediate response to Murthy's comments.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis

Ayelet Shaked.

What's Ayelet Shaked's Next Move?

A Palestinian flag is taken down from a building by Israeli authorities after being put up by an advocacy group that promotes coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, in Ramat Gan, Israel earlier this month

Israel-Palestine Confederation: A Response to Eric Yoffie