US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy supports the use of medical marijuana in helping some people suffering from painful medical conditions in an interview on CBS This Morning.
“We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, marijuana can be helpful,” Dr Murthy told the program, putting pressure on the Justice Department to redesignate the drug under federal law.
“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 legalised 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 legalised marijuana for recreational use.
Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, another advocacy group, said in a statement that Dr Murthy’s remarks mean that President Barack Obama should direct Attorney General Eric Holder to begin changing how the department categorises marijuana.
“Dr Murthy’s comments add to a growing consensus in the medical community that marijuana can help people suffering from painful conditions,” Angell says.
The Justice Department had no immediate response to Dr Murthy’s comments.