ALT-001: Medical Marijuana
- The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) recommends that adequate and well-controlled studies of smoked marijuana be conducted in patients who have serious conditions for which pre-clinical, anecdotal or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy including AIDS wasting syndrome, severe acute or delayed emesis induced by chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, dystonia and neuropathic pain, and that marijuana be retained in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act pending the outcome of such studies. Smoked marijuana should not be used for therapeutic reasons without scientific data regarding its safety and efficacy for specific indications.
- The Society urges the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to implement administrative procedures to facilitate grant applications and the conduct of well-designed clinical research into the medical utility of marijuana. This effort should include:
- Disseminating specific information for researchers on the development of safeguards for marijuana clinical research protocols and the development of a model of informed consent on marijuana for institutional review board evaluation.
- Sufficient funding to support such clinical research and access for qualified investigators to adequate supplies of marijuana for clinical research purposes.
- Confirming that marijuana of various and consistent strengths and/or placebo will be supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to investigators registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency who are conducting bona fide clinical research studies that receive Food and Drug Administration approval, regardless of whether or not the NIH is the primary source of grant support.
- The Society believes that the NIH should use its resources and influence to support the development of a smoke-free inhaled delivery system for marijuana or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to reduce the health hazards associated with the combustion and inhalation of marijuana.
- The Society does not support reinstitution of the Single Patient Investigational New Drug program for smoked marijuana at this time, because the program would likely be unable to meet the needs of individual patients in a timely fashion due to procurement difficulties associated with regulatory oversight and because this approach will not provide the scientific data needed to guide the public debate on the utility of medical marijuana.
- The Society believes that effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions. (HOD, 0411)*
*Currently under five-year policy review.