The Oregon State Health Division has received federal approval of an experimental program to supply marijuana cigarettes and THC, marijuana's active ingredient, to patients in cancer chemotherapy.
The program, approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the Food and Drug Administration, will test the anti-vomiting properties of THC and marijuana, according to Dr. John A. Googins, chief of the Health Division's Office of Disease Monitoring and Control.
From the early 18th century until 1937, marijuana was used in the United States as an anti-vomiting agent. But federal law prohibited the drug's use after 1937. Interest in the medicinal properties of marijuana was rekindled in the 1970s.
In its last session, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill making confiscated marijuana available for treatment of chemotherapy and glaucoma patients, but the new law was found to be unworkable.
First, the law is in conflict with federal law, Googins explained. Also, there would be no way to guarantee the quality of marijuana.
Federally grown marijuana and THC capsules or tablets will be used in the Oregon study.
The program's objective is to determine the effectiveness of THC and marijuana in preventing or minimizing nausea and vomiting.
Also, marijuana and THC dosages will be varied in an effort to increase the effectiveness, to document the appearance of tolerance and to identify serious adverse reactions.
Only hospitalized patients receiving cancer chemotherapy will be included.
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