Uncle Sam still doesn't recognize pot as medicine. In fact, under U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration rules, it's considered worse than cocaine: Cannabis is a top, “Schedule I” outlaw, which means it has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”

This, of course, is patently untrue, seeing that doctors right here in this part of the United States have found plenty of accepted medical uses:

Is this a case of law enforcement trumping science? A new research paper out of Southern California says yes.

The study from the state-organized Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC San Diego says what we pretty much already know, that “it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”

The paper, “Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke,” published in the latest Open Neurology Journal, concludes that there are plenty of medical uses for pot, including “treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy and muscle spasticity from conditions such as multiple sclerosis.”

It also notes that oral THC (dronabinol), which is legal, is used to control of nausea and vomiting and to promote weight gain (for those with HIV or cancer).

The academics, including Igor Grant, director of the center, conclude that marijuana is, in practice and potential, more akin to a much-more-legit Schedule III drug:

Credit: Dave O / Flickr

Credit: Dave O / Flickr

… Its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed). The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner …

Medical-pot advocates jumped on the report today. Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), stated:

Patient advocates applaud these findings from the country's top medical marijuana researchers. With the backing of such strongly worded recommendations, patients remain hopeful that the federal government will recognize the science and reclassify marijuana.

The research paper says it's time to let science trump politics:

The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress …

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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