Sunil Aggarwal Explains the American Medical Association’s History Regarding Cannabis
Sunil Aggarwal, PhD, MD candidate at the University of Washington School of Medicine, explains how important cannabis was to medical science prior to marijuana prohibition and how the American Medical Association (AMA) supported cannabis therapeutics (medical marijuana).
Transcript to follow: Hello my name is Sunil Aggarwal; I’m a final year medical student at the University of Washington. I’m a PHD researcher in cannabis, cannabinoid medicines and do the context and social science and geography actually.
From the perspective of patients they should know that the American medical association is the largest group of doctors in the United States, it’s the oldest group of doctors. I think maybe about 20%, or a little less, of doctors in America belong to this organization. They write policy, they advise congress and the government on ways things should go. They do reviews of issues and one issue they have been writing about and talking about, for a couple decades, is the question about is cannabis, the term in law right now is marijuana, but cannabis is the scientific name.
To what extent does have medically useful properties, and how can we best proceed with the evidence we have as far as policy. So for a long time, going back to the 30s, the AMA initially had come out strongly against the idea of removing cannabis from ready access for doctors and patients.
But the government had other agenda’s.
Of course they got expert witnesses to come and testify that marijuana caused dogs to go insane, changed your personality structure, social breakdown, mixing of races, this kind of thing. The AMA was only voice back in those days that said; ah, you guys have no scientific basis to make these claims, and there is a medical history of the use of this product. And we know that it is useful, for things like psychotherapy to help people remember forgotten memories. That was actually testimony that the AMA gave to congress, that it was helpful to remember lost memories. And they said there were plenty of future therapeutic uses that we would want to develop but couldn’t with this new restriction.