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Marijuana and Health (1982)


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Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: WORK OF THE COMMITTEE." Institute of Medicine. 1982. Marijuana and Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18942.
Page 169
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX A: WORK OF THE COMMITTEE." Institute of Medicine. 1982. Marijuana and Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18942.
Page 170

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Appendix WORK OF THE COMMITTEE To conduct this study, the Institute of Medicine established a committee of experts drawn from relevant disciplines, including clinical medicine, epidemiology, pharmacology, psychiatry, and toxicology. This steering committee's expertise was augmented by consultants, as well as by many other persons serving as panel members. Six panels, each chaired by a committee member, were formed to carry out a detailed analysis of such special issues as the effects of cannabis use on behavioral and psychosocial development, on reproductive and fetal biology, on cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and to consider neurobiologic, genetic, oncogenic, and cytogenetic issues, and cell biology, including pharmacologic and immunologic aspects. During the early months of the study, the panels met to apportion writing responsibilities, and established the scope and focus of each panel's undertaking. The chronology of the panel meetings follows. February 3, l98l: Panel on Behavioral and Psychosocial Issues met in Washington February l8, l98l: Panel on Neurobiological Issues met in Washington February 26, l98l: Panel on Cardiovascular and Respiratory Issues met in New York City February 27, l98l: Panel on Genetic/Oncogenic/Cytogenetic Issues met in Washington March ll, l98l: Panel on Reproductive and Fetal Issues met in Boston March l6, l98l: Subpanel on Intrapersonal Variables and Social Behavior of the Panel on Behavioral and Psychosocial Issues met in Los Angeles March 23, l98l: Panel on Cell Biology/Pharmacological and Immunological Issues met in Boston April l4, l98l: Panel on Behavioral and Psychosocial Issues met in Washington The steering committee, in the meantime, nominated additional candidates for membership on the panels and committee at its first meeting on December l, l980. Subsequently, four more meetings were l69

l70 held, on April l5, l98l, June 2-3, l98l, August 3l-September l, l98l, and October 26, l98l. The first two were held in Washington, the third meeting was held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the final meeting was held in Washington. The committee made full use of research in other countries as well as the United States. A special effort was made to coordinate activities with the staff of the Addiction Research Foundation/World Health Organization Conference on Adverse Health and Behavioral Consequences of Cannabis Use. The group's draft report and working papers were made available to the IOM committee. The mandate of this group was to consider the scientific, clinical, and epidemiological information about potential and actual hazards to health. Because of widespread public interest in the IOM study, a notice was placed in the February 24, l98l, Federal Register to solicit information from the public and from professional groups on the health-related effects of cannabis use. Approximately 90 responses were received from professional organizations, lawyers, medical doctors, scientists, other professionals, and parents. The responses can be divided into three categories: l. The dangers of marijuana. The majority of responses came from people and groups opposed to cannabis use. Many parents of cannabis smokers (and ex-cannabis smokers) submitted statements about their personal experiences and observations. Included among the groups that responded are the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, Georgia Congress of Parents and Teachers, the American Lung Association, Drug Information Program of the Crusade Against Crime, the Committees of Correspondence, Phoenix House Foundation, and Pride. 2. The therapeutic potential of marijuana. Responses were received from medical doctors, as well as individuals or their parents, reporting that cannabis had alleviated pain from various medical problems—rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis—and had in some cases lessened the side-effects of drugs used in chemotherapy. In most cases the marijuana had to be obtained by unauthorized means, making many of the victims and their families uncomfortable. Several respondents were from the State of Michigan, where a cannabis therapeutic research program has recently been authorized by the state legislature. Responses were also received from the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics and the American Medical Association. 3. Support of general use and legalization of marijuana. Responses in this regard were received from lawyers and other individuals, as well as the following organizations: the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, the Cannabis Institute of America, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and the publication High Times. One writer contended that perhaps more people would submit statements if their anonymity were assured.

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