(NewsNation) — Federal health officials recommended loosening federal restrictions on marijuana after concluding it poses a lower public health risk than other controlled substances.
The Department of Health and Human Services released an extensive scientific review outlining how it reached this conclusion on Friday. It states “there exists some credible scientific support for the medical use of marijuana in at least one of the indications for which there is widespread current experience in the United States.”
This is the first time the department has publicly acknowledged marijuana’s medical use.
For over 60 years, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug — the same as heroin and MDMA — under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it’s a substance of high abuse potential and no accepted medical use.
The classification has long been a source of criticism as marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the U.S., and is legal for medicinal purposes in 38 states.
Federal officials proposed classifying marijuana as a Schedule III drug, in the same category as substances that can be obtained with a prescription such as anabolic steroids, ketamine and testosterone.
The analysis, conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, found that cannabis use disorder — defined as psychological dependence — ranges from 10% to 20% in people who…