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No, the FDA has not approved medical marijuana for any illness

Researchers say there isn't enough scientific evidence yet to approve the drug for any illness, but clinical trials are ongoing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The question of whether or not medical marijuana should be legalized in Kentucky is back on the table as the state's General Assembly reconvenes for the 2022 legislative session.

Kentucky’s Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, is calling for more research when it comes to medical marijuana, saying the drug isn't a solution to cure everything.

“If there were more studies, and the FDA or Johns Hopkins or somebody like that would come out and show how it should be used for medicinal and therapeutic values, then I think it would be an easier path forward," Stivers said in early January

Stivers said he’s open to discussing the issue of legalizing medical marijuana, but personally has concerns about passing legislation. 

THE QUESTION

Have the FDA and other leading scientists shown how medical marijuana should be used? 

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, based on scientific research, the FDA does not have enough information to approve medical marijuana for any illness.

WHAT WE FOUND

An FDA spokesperson directed us to a statement on its website, which says:

“...FDA is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The agency is committed to protecting the public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.”

So far, the FDA has approved four marijuana-related drug products for the treatment of seizures in children, along with the treatment of nausea and severe weight loss from AIDS or cancer chemotherapy.  

“So we certainly believe there's therapeutic potential for marijuana. But I think we need to know more," Dr. Weiss with NIDA said.

Dr. Weiss estimates it could take at least a year or more before we could have FDA approval of marijuana for a medical illness. 

“We're not yet in a position to tell people what it's good for, what doses they should be taking," she said. 

So we can confirm that no, based on scientific research, the FDA does not have enough information to approve medical marijuana for any illness.

Clinical trials are still underway. Researchers say one of the aspects they’re studying is how marijuana or some of its components might be used to manage pain. 

Contact reporter Paula Vasan at pvasan@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@PaulaVasan) and Facebook.

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