For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reclassify marijuana so that more research can be conducted in the hopes of finding benefits for children. The influential medical society also proposes that marijuana should be made available on a compassionate use basis for children with debilitating or life-threatening illnesses.
Specifically, the AAP wants marijuana to be removed from the DEA’s Schedule 1 listing for controlled substances, which are not considered to have any “currently accepted medical use in the U.S., a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision and a high potential for abuse.” Other drugs in this category include heroin, acid and ecstasy.
Instead, the medical society wants marijuana downgraded to the list of Schedule 2 drugs, which are considered to have a “high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” These include various widely prescribed narcotics, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, as well as morphine and codeine, which are used for medical purposes.
“A Schedule 1 listing means there’s no medical use or helpful indications, but we know that’s not true because there has been limited evidence showing [marijuana] may be helpful for certain conditions in adults,” says Seth Ammerman, a clinical professor in pediatrics at Stanford University and a member of the AAP national committee on substance abuse, who co-authored the new policy statement.