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I am a registered professional nurse and work with a chronically ill population. I care deeply for all of my patients, and take a holistic approach with the care that I give.

A nurse will take the time to educate his/her patients and encourage them to advocate for themselves, and if the patient is unable to be their own advocate, the nurse will advocate for them. I often make suggestions to better help my patients to develop treatment plans with their physicians.

Lately, and quite frequently, the subject of medical marijuana comes up as a treatment option.

I am bound by my license to provide true and factual education to my patients. I spend much time reading peer-reviewed scientific studies so that I can arm myself — and my patients — with truthful health information.  Much of the medical marijuana data I review comes from retrospective studies, and trials being conducted in other countries, because here in the United States of America, it is nearly impossible for physicians to conduct clinical trials with marijuana.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, a category of drugs that our government defines as having no accepted medical use. According to our federal government, Schedule I drugs may not be prescribed by physicians.

Herein lies a conflict: Patients, in conjunction with physician recommendation, are using marijuana as medicine and are having positive health outcomes and benefits. We know that marijuana is not physically addictive medicine and science has proven that marijuana DOES have a place in the plan of care for many patients. (You can find a comprehensive list of drugs and their classifications here .)

marijuana-fist-jointOn January 22, The DC Circuit DENIED a petition submitted by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), seeking to overturn the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) decision not to conduct an evidentiary hearing as to whether cannabis should be moved out of the Schedule I category of drugs. This ruling was discussed on Toke Signals.

I was outraged, as were many Americans following the ruling on this case. I had a hard time understanding why the DC Circuit would deny the ASA petition. There is no scientific or intellectual honesty in keeping marijuana on the Schedule I list of drugs.

By rescheduling marijuana, millions of Americans who are currently prevented from using medical marijuana legally would be able to benefit from its therapeutic value. My coworkers and I spent days talking about the ruling, and we all felt the same outrage.

Noah Potter [New Amsterdam Psychedelic Law Blog]

New York City attorney Noah Potter:
“The DEA requires cannabis to pass a test that does not exist in federal law.”
[New Amsterdam Psychedelic Law Blog]

Shortly after hearing of the ruling, I read a blog post by Noah Potter, a New York City attorney who writes The New Amsterdam Psychedelic Law Blog, addressing this ruling in his article “The meaning of the DEA’s recent victory in ASA v DEA.”

After reading his article, it got me thinking about the court ruling and the court’s requirement that “something more than ‘peer-reviewed studies’ is required…” to reschedule marijuana. I am a nurse, and not a legal person, but I came to the conclusion that theoretically, LSD could be taken off the Schedule I list of drugs before cannabis.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on the marijuana supply, and only makes its marijuana supply available to projects that it approves. The federal government does not retain a monopoly on the production of any other Schedule I drug. The federal government requires COMPETITION among producers of ALL Schedule I drugs EXCEPT Marijuana.

Why would the federal government monopolize the supply of marijuana for research? Marijuana is the ONLY Schedule I drug that is singled out in this manner.

There are several FDA-approved clinical trials with marijuana sitting in limbo because researchers cannot get the NIDA to supply marijuana for research studies. A quick internet search led me to a list of current research being conducted on Schedule I psychedelic drugs. The FDA has been generous in granting approval for some psychedelic drug studies, including marijuana studies; however the NIDA is a roadblock to marijuana research by controlling the supply.

If a physician/researcher is willing to jump through all the hoops the FDA requires to conduct a clinical study on any Schedule I drug — drugs such as MDMA or LSD — it will only be a matter of time until researchers gather the required Phase I-III clinical trial data required by the DEA to reschedule.

If that data proves to show a positive therapeutic outcome, if the researcher can prove the validity of that study drug as medicine, if the stars and planets are aligned perfectly we can, in theory, see a petition to the DEA to reschedule a psychedelic drug acted on more quickly than on marijuana.

We need to understand the magnitude of what the DEA has done to prevent the rescheduling of marijuana. To quote Noah Potter, “The DEA requires cannabis to pass a test that does not exist in federal law. The only way the citizens can move cannabis out of Schedule I is to get an evidentiary hearing – so the DEA designed a test that will never permit an evidentiary hearing.”

The DEA and the NIDA have a long history of obstructing marijuana research, even covering up significant marijuana clinical research data regarding tumors.


Winston Churchill: “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

Winston Churchill said, “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

I ask you these important questions:

What can be done to END the political fanaticism and scientific dishonesty that our government has for marijuana?

What can WE do to get cannabis rescheduled?

We need to challenge the people who control the DEA and hold them accountable for creating arbitrary rules. We need to shout it from the rooftops that this is all about Politics and has nothing to do with Science or Medicine.

We need to educate as many people as we can to expose the truth. Press coverage is in order. Anyone can clearly see that marijuana is not a Schedule I drug according to the current federal regulations.

Marijuana does NOT have a high abuse potential. Marijuana is currently an ACCEPTED medical treatment for many conditions in the United States. Marijuana has safety and efficacy data. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have deemed marijuana an acceptable treatment with medical supervision.

This is an issue of compassion for our fellow Americans who are the victims of political fanaticism and are unable to advocate for themselves because they are so ill. We need to be their voice.

~ Lisa Roche-Schroeder, RN, CCRC, CRNI


Lisa Roche-Schroeder, RN, wrote this article for Toke Signals

Lisa Roche-Schroeder, RN, wrote this article for Toke Signals

Editor’s note: Lisa Roche-Schroeder is a Registered Professional Nurse in Upstate New York. Lisa has been a nurse for 25 years and is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator and is a Certified Registered Nurse Infusionist.

Lisa has worked in Medical Research, Oncology, Rheumatology, and Nephrology. She volunteers her time in New York State with several organizations that are working on lobbying for medical marijuana in her state.

Roche-Schroeder has collected thousands of postcards across the country asking the President to keep his promise to restore science to its rightful place during his Inaugural speech. Lisa’s postcards are for Americans to ask the President to reconcile the law and take marijuana off the Schedule I list of drugs.


  • d.a.g

    This angers me! I stay up to date with medical mjg & already knew that they are not allowing studies to be conducted! Where do we go from here? How do we make our gov. Work for us?

  • Great article….I’m doing my best to spread the truth. Cannabis Freedom is the only acceptable outcome!

  • Thank you, I agree

  • Shout the truth from the rooftops!

  • Ron Marczyk

    Total house cleaning needed at the DEA.Great writing, keep up the good work!

  • How do you shout it from the rooftops when that leads to arrest and indefinite detainment? When you are homeless, jobless and your spouse depends on mmj to fight Multiple Sclerosis, you don’t have the luxury of replacing your medicine and paying a bail bondsman on a regular basis.

  • Gardening is Never a Crime

    …the DEA is Nixons dog and it has gotten off the leash.

  • Gardening is Never a Crime

    …pls don’t do anything that will lead to your arrest. Start off by contacting your Representatives in Congress. Let them know you are watching and that you know the truth.

  • James

    Someone like MAPS should get LSD, Psilocybin, or DMT moved off schedule I. It would be a great talking point in the push to reclassify cannabis. While psychedelics are physically benign, their potent psychoactive effects make them much riskier than cannabis.

    Then again, do the drug schedules really mean anything? If you were to evaluate alcohol and tobacco based on CSA criteria, where do you think they’d fit? This only goes to highlight the fact that this legislation is not based on science or medicine.

  • Stephe Dodge

    Part of the reason that LSD will be “legal” or off the Schedule One list is because LSD is “made” or manufactured to exact specs and reefer is grown as a plant, and cannot be grown to be an exactly spec.
    This is ALL BULLSHIT because Cannabis/Hemp is Harmless, but that is not the point. The point is the LIE!
    And the TRUTH is that Cannabis/Hemp is the Tree of Life.

  • Right…. because Congress quivers in fear at the thought that they might incur the wrath of the poor and homeless or be called liars by people everyone pretends don’t exist.

    The average American walks right by homeless people every day. How many of you reach out with more than a check to some faceless organization or the token volunteer night at the food kitchen? When was the last time you met the eyes of a street person, or someone at a homeless shelter? What makes you think we have ANY voice in this country? We are what bored rich people occupy themselves with when they need positive PR or something to do between wine tastings and corporate takeovers.

    Look, I know most people have too much to lose (not really, but a comfort addiction is harder to kick than heroin). That’s why I don’t advocate overthrow of the government or violence against the authorities for anyone else. And I although I can shoot the eyes out of a squirrel at 50 yards, I don’t own a gun… why bother in a country where they are like leaves on a tree?

    But a patriot can only stand so much, and only victims accept tyranny as a lesser evil than death. Just like the rest of you, I have watched this war against children, old people, veterans, and the sick for my entire life.

    If the storm troopers come to my camp with ski masks, guns drawn, to take the only thing that has ever given my wife true relief from her pain, to threaten the only person who has ever truly loved me, there will be a price paid on both sides.

    We didn’t win the revolution asking Parliament to change the governing of the colonies.

    At some point, you have to say “Give me liberty, or give me death.”

  • Collee

    I am also a nurse and I am upset about this too. I know many people who have benefited from medical marijuana. I am helping to spread the truth in California.

  • Collee

    that’s the whole point it really sucks. I have 2 friends that have MS and it really helps them.

  • thank you, Collee. Unfortunately, it has been a long, long time since our government was moved by truth or the desires of the citizens.

  • Julianjulio

    I find this a little naive (I’m not in a clear mood atm, but am going on instinct): however reasonable this case is here – from ‘our’ point-of-view at least, it is not about reason, logic or eve science: I intuitively feel when I have experienced it why such drugs or herbs are illegal (whereas alcohol is not): they change one’s mind, they provide subjective meaning (-and in some cases, personal truth); they can be spiritual;one can see into things sometimes, accessing things that our culture is deaf, dumb and blind too. I am not a conspiracy theorist but it is something about our Western cultures, and perhaps what is sick about them, that this kind of experiencing, and ‘authority’ is taboo. I think the medical assertions are too connected to their recreational use for these ‘authorities’
    Recently, I had some Panaeolus Mushrooms; it was a beautiful, gentle experience – and not really ‘trippy’. It was like a clean meditation for a few hours. And i thought at the time, -how can such a clean, beautiful and sane experience be ‘illegal’ in some if not most countries?It truly is insane.

    I would love for the law to become saner (like it has in Washington and Colarado states in the US)
    I am not sure how to change the subconscious of a culture, so to speak. It is something internal, and we can only do our bit, in our small circle of influence.


    Excellent article, Lisa. I’ll share it with the American Cannabis Nurses Assn. http://www.cannabisnurse.org/

  • Thank you Ken for sharing.

  • ZZardozz

    They know that if an honest, non biased study was done, they would be made to look like fools and/or criminals. They will fight that at any cost.

  • georjean parrish

    In Dec 2008, lost a kidney, suffered septic shock from intestinal puncture during my nephuerterectomy, 20+ days life support 14 additional surgeries multiple transfusions 3 month hospitalization, very very long road to recovery. Then blacklisted and denied appropriate care and followup, as well as the doctors and hospitals complete unaccountability or acknowledgement of my multiple medical errors and harm, when insurance ran out and they required cash pay for fixing the multiple mistakes. I have researched and been taking the lead on my preferred treatment of ptsd, anxiety, panic from my trauma, plus being told a year ago I am CKD stage 3. I have documented medical records showing the all natural pure remedies i have been using and with the help of medical marijuana and complete change of diet MY eGFR HAS GONE FROM 42 in June 2012 to 68 on Feb 5,2013. We as people need to be able to have these stats documented and allowed as proven trials. Let me know what I can do to help.

  • Its about time they start legalizing marijuana worldwide! There are so many great benefits!!

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