SILVER SPRING, MD – According to documents released on Friday, January 12, HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Health, Rachel L. Levine, M.D, recommended marijuana be reconsidered as a Schedule III drug given it poses lower health risks than other controlled substances and offers possible medical benefits. While the DEA has yet to act on this recommendation, the American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes this as an accomplishment in realizing the potential for marijuana in health care delivery. This marks the first time HHS has publicly acknowledged marijuana’s medical use. This action follows a letter HHS sent to the DEA in August 2023 recommending marijuana be removed as a Schedule I drug, a classification for drugs with no medical benefits at all.
ANA continues to reiterate its’ position urging policymakers to review and reclassify marijuana’s status to support clinical research on how marijuana could benefit patients and providers. ANA also recognizes cannabis nursing as a nursing specialty which is identified by the American Cannabis Nurses Association as a specialty nursing practice focused on the care of health care consumers seeking education and guidance in the therapeutic use of cannabis.
This recommendation is a positive step toward developing an evidence-based approach for marijuana and related-cannabinoids use in disease and symptom management. ANA supports the urgency of clinical research to inform patients and providers on the efficacy of marijuana and related cannabinoids. Read ANA’s Position on the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana and Related Cannabinoids here.
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's more than 5 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.