For reasons that can’t be explained rationally, cannabis is classified by the DEA as a Schedule I drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. It also means that the federal government makes it very hard to conduct clinical studies on it. Since the DEA is an agency more concerned with law enforcement than health, perhaps we should ask someone with a bit more of a medical background to weigh in on the matter. Meet U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. In an interview with CBS, the good doctor offered this assessment:

Murthy said there is some promising research about medical uses of the drug, which is legal in some states but still banned on the federal level. “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful,” Murthy told CBS. “I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking.”

Murthy is not the only surgeon general to show support for medicinal weed. In 2010, when weed was still considered political kryptonite, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders argued that it should be fully legalized. “Marijuana has been used for 5,000 years. It’s never been associated with a toxic death or death from marijuana, so I feel that it’s more of a medicine and we should use it, regulate it and tax it.”

Recently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, adopted a much more progressive stance on medical weed. If only these various branches of the federal government could find a way to communicate with the other branches of the federal government, the curmudgeons at the DEA might consider updating its draconian classification. Or they could consider deferring that responsibility to those with actual medical expertise.

(Original photo: Don Goofy)