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Five Health Organizations that Support Cannabis Research

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American Cancer Society

Cancer is a beast that comes in many forms and often requires multiple strategies to overcome, including medical cannabis. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has supported medical cannabis research since the 1990s. The organization officially supported California’s Senate Bill 535 in 1997, for instance, which focused on medical cannabis research. SB 535 was controversial but established a $1 million state research program at the University of California to determine the efficacy of medical cannabis for treating AIDS-related wasting syndrome, glaucoma, and cancer. Currently, the ACS does not take an official stance when it comes to cannabis legislation.

American Nurses Association

In June 2003, the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a resolution saying that the organization aims to “support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” The organization added that the needless criminalization of cannabis creates a situation that makes it harder for patients who rely on medical cannabis. In 2006 the American Cannabis Nurses Association was created, and gradually helped the ANA warm up to the idea of medical cannabis. In 2023, the ANA went further and officially recognized cannabis nursing as a specialty nursing practice within the organization.

American Osteopathic Association

The field of osteopathic medicine often involves many types of alternative therapies as they relate to our overall health and well-being. In 2011, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) issued a resolution saying that the organization supports “well-controlled clinical studies on the use of marijuana and related cannabinoids for patients who have significant medical conditions.” As recently as 2018, the AOA reiterated its stance, announcing that it officially supports the review of the classification of cannabis at the federal level as it currently falls under Schedule I, in order to facilitate advancement research for health purposes.

Health Canada

Health Canada, a federal institution relatively similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has been involved in Canada’s medical cannabis industry for decades, showing support early on amid the country’s path to legalization. Former Health Canada spokesman Dann Michols told the Ottawa Citizen in 1997 that there is no difference between cannabis and other useful medicines such as morphine and aspirin, which were originally derived from plants. Health Canada has been heavily involved in regulating medical cannabis in Canada for over 20 years. For instance, Health Canada employs a rigorous tracking system in an attempt to thwart illegal cannabis operations.

National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Researchers associated with the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a piece in the National Academy Press in 1999 called “Marijuana as Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.” In it, they wrote that “scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.” They also recognized the fewer harms of cannabis compared to drugs like opioids, writing that “the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications.”

This article was originally published in the June 2024 issue of High Times Magazine.

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