American Academy of Pediatrics Calls For Rescheduling Cannabis

An updated policy statement issued today by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls for the rescheduling of the cannabis plant under federal law to better facilitate clinical trial research and to promote the plant’s eventual pharmaceutical development.

The new position statement resolves: “The AAP strongly supports research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and supports a review of policies promoting research on the medical use of these compounds. The AAP recommends changing marijuana from a Drug Enforcement Administration schedule I (controlled substance) to a Schedule II drug to facilitate this (clinical) research.”

By definition, schedule I controlled substances are defined as possessing no “accepted medical use.” Clinical protocols involving cannabis are strictly controlled and require authorization from various federal agencies, including DEA, FDA, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – the latter of which is designated under federal law as the sole provider of cannabis and/or organic cannabinoids for research 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,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, who co-authored the new policy statement.

The newly amended AAP resolution also acknowledges that certain types of cannabinoid-therapy may provide benefits to adolescents, particularly those patient populations with treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy and chronic seizures. It states, “The AAP recognizes that marijuana may currently be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.”

Last year the Epilepsy Foundation of America issued a similar resolution, citing preclinical data and observational reports of the potential therapeutic benefit of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) in pediatric patients and calling for “an end to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) restrictions that limit clinical trials and research into medical marijuana for epilepsy.”

Separate language in the AAP’s position statement also addresses the social use of the plant, affirming, “AAP strongly supports the decriminalization of marijuana use for both minors and young adults and encourages pediatricians to advocate for laws that prevent harsh criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana.” By contrast, the statement acknowledges the group’s continued opposition to the legalization of marijuana, a policy change that it alleges poses “potential harm to children.”

Text of the amended AAP position paper is online here. A summary of resolutions issued by other medical and health organizations in regard to patient access to therapeutic cannabis is available on the NORML website here.

34 thoughts

  1. It’s encouraging to see various doctors recognizing the absurdity of marijuana’s Schedule I classification.

    One of my former primary doctors once asked me if I smoked. When I mentioned that I occasionally smoked pot, he shrugged, and said, “No, I mean cigarettes.”

    When I answered to the negative, he nodded approvingly. Even some doctors obviously understand the difference.

  2. This is spot on. Tell me something……. How can something be illegal and legal at the same time. Things are at least starting to move in the right directions.

  3. “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,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, who co-authored the new policy statement.

    They also favor decriminalization, but not legalization. I wonder if the opposition to legalization was included to placate prohibitionist dinosaurs still active within the organization.

  4. Thank you, AAP! Thank you, NORML!

    I have to echo the sentiments expressed that cannabis does NOT belong in Schedule I.

    Cannabis should not be in the Schedule at all.

    Too many children have had their families devastated by Child and Domestic Services taking them away from their parents for cannabis! Too many young adults, not yet 18, are drawn into the criminal justice system through cannabis prohibition, especially people of color.

    I mean, when is it ever going to end? Let’s not drag out ending prohibition any longer, for everybody’s sake. It’s a win-win to legalize. Even the NIMBY prohibitionists who never used cannabis for any reason and never will use cannabis for any reason, medical or recreational, can get at the tax monies from legal cannabis via the General Fund of the respective state they live in. As things currently stand under prohibition a majority of the money Americans spend on cannabis is still going to the cartels, mainly to Mexico, the supplier of the demand the U.S. has de fact outsourced to the drug lords.

    Legalization keeps the money, jobs, taxes in the U.S., separates the hard drugs market from the cannabis market. All that flow of money to Mexico slows to a trickle.

  5. The brain is so misunderstood that doctors and bureaucrats should back away from the topic all together. If you look at a test pattern, like for a TV set, and it looks normal to you then your mind is working correctly. Emotions such as loneliness only come from thinking your mind is a poorly functioning brain, but then why would a test pattern look normal? Yes, mental health is the future of mankind, but not delineated by the government and its many bureaus and affiliations. It’s great to see a grassroots effort like NORML succeeding!

  6. Congratulations NORML! Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this moment! The approval from this organization is incredible! It seemed like not so long ago we couldn’t get a white flag from the AMA, and now here is the AAP coming out of the bonds of the ONDCP to tell the scared masses that legalized, un-prohibited weed is good for our children in so many ways.
    What an unbelievable sight. How’s THAT DEA Director Michelle Leonhart? Your local Pediatrician is saying marijuana legalization is “good” for us all? That must be a sour taste in the mouth…

  7. @Evening Bud – I’ve confided to my last few doctors that I use marijuana and not a single one so much as suggested that I stop! One of my best friends, a chess buddy, was a retired doctor before he died of a rare cancer, and he was fine with me using it.

    It is only the ignorant and greedy that are keeping us from realizing our goal of ending marijuana prohibition! The people that have done the research or experienced a cannabis buzz for themselves realize the stupidity of prohibition and all the harm it causes.

    I’ve been using for 40 years now and, according to my current doctor, am in near perfect health at age 58. I do have a touch of arthritis (which cannabis helps with) and my cholesterol is a bit higher than perfect but I can’t afford to pay $200/month for Crestor…

  8. @Julian – I doubt Michelle Leonhart will ever get educated on this subject. She is absolutely convinced that marijuana is just as dangerous as heroin or meth and less dangerous than cocaine or oxycontin…

    And if our dear Nancy Grace was correct about marijuana making users fat, lazy and stupid, I think most of America would think she was using it!

    Fact is that very intelligent and highly motivated people have used it; not the least of which is the genius/scientist/author Carl Sagan.

    As for Kevin Sabet, I think he is not as stupid as people think he is. He is one of those who are among the highly educated but is motivated by greed; he wants all marijuana users to go through his marijuana addition treatment as an alternative to going to jail or prison… What a jerk!

  9. @ Miles,

    I think most doctors have to know, through their own experiences with patients, that there are far more dangerous drugs out there than pot–alcohol, tobacco & pain pills–you know, the legal ones.

  10. Err, schedule two is cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.

    Really, I’m not looking to “decriminalize” people abusing these drugs. Marijuana does not belong in schedule two. Try schedule Four or Five for an appropiate scheduling. How does taking it from schedule one and placing it in two help anything? The DEA is still in charge Schedule II drugs.

    Their own statement is a bit silly: Take it from Schedule I and put it in Schedule II where the drugs are still wholly illegal without a prescription, but then also abopt policy to effectively treat marijuana possession as if it were schedule 4 or 5.

    Umm, what??? How about just place it there in the correct schedule? Too easy???

  11. Anybody hear the new attorney general to be acting like a scientist’s stating her useless opinion on legalizing weed. These are REAL medical physicians..real scientists…who are calling for decriminilization…though they are not for outright legalization….yet

  12. “As for Kevin Sabet, I think he is not as stupid as people think he is.”

    Kevin isn’t stupid, he employees stupid people to carry his “lets be stupid and have stupid policies” message. He is the embodiment of stupid: A smart guy who is requiring others to adopt dysfunction. Like Hilter, George Bush and a whole bunch of evil Muslims. But he is a true believer and he should know better, being a drug user himself. So really, what do we call someone that “should know better, but does and advocates for doing the wrong thing”?

    Stupid does not actually cover it. When you bathe in and require ignorance it is like stupid times ten. I’m thinking he is a demagogue, a broken compass, not capable of pointing in the right direction.

  13. I was so full of hope for decriminalization here in Virgina but the Repugnicans shot it down.

    So, I’d like to send a big salute out to all of them (middle finger only)!!!

    It is an absolute certainty that these Nazi-like Repugs do not represent the will of the majority of Virginians. I hope that everyone of them gets thrown out on their butts come next election but I’m not optimistic since these selfish bastardss keep finding ways to get voted into office (primarily by spending millions attacking their opponents).

    As for the Virginia State Police and the attorneys that oppose decriminalization, screw them all!

    Obviously, I’m pissed! I really need to medicate before I blow a fuse…

  14. @ Miles,

    I’m with ya. I’d like to see all the greedy self-serving politicos tossed out on their arses. I used to live in a firmly blue state, NM, but alas, the voters here deemed it fit to elect the Repubs into the majority in the states houses here for the first time in generations.

    It was more a case of the liberals, progressive, et al, not caring enough to get out and vote this last election; those old conservatives can be counted on to always get out an vote, however misguided their voting may be. And because of that we may not see Recreational MJ here in NM for years.

    I’ve never considered Americans to be the most intelligent people when it comes to voting. How many people do you know who draw Social Security checks every friggin month, then happily vote GOP every friggin time? I know a few, and they always find some way to justify their stupidity.

  15. Cannabis should be on the same schedule as tobacco and alcohol. PERIOD.

    Oh! Wait! They’re not on the CSA at all!!!

  16. I was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder and Depression 15 years ago. Conventional medication didn’t work. I began to smoke cannabis regularly. I was able to raise my two children, provide food shelter clothing, and I was able to be there for them always, until I got arrested for growing. Now they want to put me in jail.I cant afford a lawyer so I have a public defender,who I have never met. Can Anyone HELP?? Hopeless in Maryland..
    I have Doctor’s support.Trial is Feb.19 2015
    Anyone Please Help Me… I beg and plead for some help….

  17. “I’ve never considered Americans to be the most intelligent people when it comes to voting. How many people do you know who draw Social Security checks every friggin month, then happily vote GOP every friggin time? I know a few, and they always find some way to justify their stupidity.”

    You are describing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. This is exactly the style of thought that keeps whores attached to an abusive, misogynist pimp. “Maybe things will be better when I have AIDS, thank-you for teaching me how to make money pimp”.

    The rebubs keep their pimp hand strong! Yeah, when men say these stupid self abusive things, we don’t label them as BPD, instead we called them “strong conservative values” which is wrong.

  18. Time for serious dialogue with the
    AAP (starting with thanks for the progress they’ve made) — about Conflict of Interest.

    Pediatricians have been saying for some time that $igarette $moking– even only by adults– harms the health and development of children. But– it doesn’t take much thought to add that doctors continue making a ton of money treating childhood illnesses that could have been prevented if a previous generation (their parents and parents’ friends) had been successfully IMMUNIZED against ever getting addicted to nicotine $igarettes in the first place! And by current estimate 800,000 more young Americans still get hooked each year– future profits for the medical industry!

    Third rail: LEGALIZING cannabis coupled with an investment in education (Vape Literacy) will soon massively reduce $igarette addiction (and future child morbidity) by (A) substituting Vape for $moke, (B) substituting cannabis AND OTHER REACHFORTH-GRADE HERBS for tobackgo, (C) substituting 25-mg single tokes for 700-mg-per-lightup $igarette and 500-mg Joint.

    Yes, it definitely would require all three substitutions. Legalizing cannabis removes barriers to all three, but especially Appropriate utensils– the Number One reason for popularity of the Joint is that it is EASY TO HIDE from your Mom or the cop– and use up hurriedly thus disposing of evidence.

    Look it up: the Australian Department of Health referred to the Joint as a Trojan Horse luring children into nicotine $igarette addiction. Think it through: to children whose parents followed advice to keep them ignorant about cannabis, every Joint and every picture of a Joint is a $igarette commercial.

    To pediatricians– take it easy, just retrain over into gerontology, by mid-century there will be 500,000,000 centenarians (hopefully including me) to take care of!

  19. Schroedingers weed?…is a very clever comparison…and made me laugh!…SCIENCE!

    Great and informative/amusing comments all!…No one sounds negatively affected by cannabis consumption to me… in fact, quite the opposite!

  20. my cholesterol is a bit higher than perfect but I can’t afford to pay $200/month for Crestor… – Miles

    In many cases cholesterol levels can be lowered by consuming oatmeal in your diet…some studies suggest as well as any Statin.

    I’m not a Doctor…but I did get some medical training from Granny Clampett!

  21. Are the Booze and Coffin Nail dealers prohibited from having their Dispensaries being too close to Schools, Church etc…as mandated by the new cannabis “laws”?

    If not, why not?

    Round and round we go, where we stop should be right now!…Cannabis is legal in the United States…as well as illegal in The United States…which would seem to indicate a confused State of Mind!

    Medically legal

    Recreationally legal


    Civil fine

    Civil infraction


    Oh!…what a tangled web we weave!

    The words absurd and fruitless come to mind.

  22. just wanted to let you know we got big news in texas look up ///// the-politics-of-a-marijuana-buzz.html) all accross the state OF TEXAS WE HAVE OVER 149,000 KIDS AND ADULTS HAVE EPILEPSY alot of troops with ptsd etc etc the cbd medicine works/// its time this country changes (come on people lets make it happen now tired of seeing children and adults suffer how about youuu..

  23. @ Dave Evans,

    You must be right, because I cannot understand why people would otherwise vote against their own best interests.

    On some level, I suppose, I can understand their argument that they paid into SS their whole life and should therefore get some compensation, should get the benefits no matter how repulsed they may be about “socialism.” However, it then becomes a matter of selfishness: they assuredly want that SS check every month on the month, but–apparently–don’t care if their own children or grandchildren get the same benefits.

    When did so many members of “the greatest generation” become so selfish?

    Many in that same “greatest generation” gladly indulge in the–legal–drugs of their choice, but, again, have no compassion or regard for the choices of others.

  24. The main reason the DEA & justice dept. is keeping marijuana illegal is so the corrupted law enforcement across the country can keep their hands digging into everyone’s pockets and robbing us of our Christmas money before and after Christmas and any money you may have left they want to try to help law enforcement maintain their criminal enterprise they have been operating all these years. They are trying to fool everyone into thinking they are trying to stop marijuana use which IS A BIG FAT LIE. Marijuana prohibition is nothing but a conspiracy against the will of the people and they have been literally stealing from the people all these years. Just another one of those “Smoke and Mirrors” sack of government scoundralism and corruption. Now GO FIGURE!!!! It’s all a BIG CORRUPTED GOVERNMENT SCAM! Why can’t you people see that???

  25. Marijuana prohibition is a GOVERNMENT SCANDAL!
    dON’T yOU PEOPLE know that the reason the DEA and justice department is keeping marijuana in schedule I or II is so they can allow all these corrupted law enforcement scoudrels to keep their hands deep into our pockets. And all the while the corrupted law enforcement scumbags are getting rich on the peoples money and the peoples pride! Go FIGURE!!

  26. “The words absurd and fruitless come to mind.”

    Yeah, and we need to keep going to war in the Middle East for no good reason also. To pacify warring people every half generation. Because when you kill Momohameed, his eight cousins swear revenge (as they should, as we should expect! Because that’s exactly what we do do ourselves.). This is also a scam our government wastes lives, time and money on. And they already know better, just like with the War on Marijuana.

    Bitter Peace (unending war) is also a frequent product of our broken ideals:

  27. The only reason it has taken this long is that the moral arguments about this devil weed are slow to go away. To put it simply, cannabis needs to be bumped back to schedule III or removed entirely. The science does not justify schedule I classification. The only reason it still is is because of the moral crusaders, who also disrespect the constitution (when convenient), are not going to yield willinly.

    To this I say:

    The last time I checked, there is something in the First Amendment called “The Establishment Clause.” where the Fed cannot sponsor a state religion. I wish that clause could be expanded to the adoption of moral laws that restrict liberty of recreational choices. The reason I say this is because moral law is so joined at the hip with organized religion that the two are indistinguishable from one another.

    For those who say, “We are a Christian nation,” they are incorrect. We are a representative republic that respects individual religious choices without fear of persecution. When these religious people get their religion based laws passed, they use this reasoning as justification for it. It is my contention that these laws are coming dangerously close to violating “The First Amendment” in that regard.

  28. our government has long since lost the honor to lay claim to legitimacy it has devolved into nothing more than a criminal enterprise a collusion and brotherhood of the nefarious money mad politicians and their callous cruel corporate masters we the people must tear down the walls that separate and divide us i.e. race,religion,societal status,etc and unite to dismantle this oligarchy\plutocracy\aristocracy and bring to justice those responsible for unleashing decades of pain,deprivation and despair! All by peaceful means of course!!! Notice that disclaimer. I just don’t see how anyone nowadays who has a conscience can just be a one issue person anymore!? It’s gotten so outrageously bad that all issues are entangled. Sooner or later we know we will win on the marijuana issue but once that is settled shouldn’t we all push further harder stronger?

  29. Evening Bud, I don’t get it either. “We need to cut SS so we can keep giving rich folks more taxes breaks.”–it makes no sense.

  30. @ Dave,

    You’re right. Propaganda paid for and by the rich. “Geez, I only have seven billion dollars and three mansions–those lazy entitlement takers!”

  31. More and more, some of the folks on the right just sound like, uh, Uncle Toms, but not in a “sold out your race” way, but rather, “sold out America”.

    Seriously, what can one person do that is worth billions of dollars? How can one “earn” that much money??? Answer: they don’t. These goons play with our economy like its a roulette table.

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