Marijuana's Classification as a "Schedule 1" Drug has No Basis in Fact
Marijuana is classified under federal law as a Schedule I controlled substance, defined as a drug with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in the U.S., and unsafe for use even under medical supervision. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and PCP.
Schedule II drugs -- still considered to have high abuse potential but with accepted medical uses and considered safe for use under medical supervision -- include cocaine, morphine and methamphetamine. That's right, federal law currently classifies marijuana as more dangerous than methamphetamine .
It gets stranger still. THC, the component responsible for marijuana's "high" (but not all of its therapeutic benefits) is available as a prescription pill called Marinol. Marinol is classed in Schedule III -- rated as having lower abuse or dependence potential than Schedule I or II drugs. Indeed, the abuse risks of Schedule III drugs are considered so modest that your doctor can phone in a prescription! This is the case even though the American College of Physicians has noted that Marinol's psychoactive effects are "more severe" than marijuana's.
This federal classification -- enacted by Congress in 1970 and not based on any scientific or medical assessment -- stands reality on its head. It ignores the massive evidence of marijuana's medical value, and treats marijuana as more dangerous than pure THC, heroin, and meth. This is simply ludicrous, which is why in February 2008 the American College of Physicians stated, " ACP urges review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions."