Mass. Medical Society Testifies on Medical-marijuana Bill

BOSTON — The Mass. Medical Society (MMS) recently offered the following testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Health on House 3885, An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana.

The MMS has two policy positions established regarding the use of marijuana. They are:

“The Mass. Medical Society affirms its opposition to smoking marijuana for recreational purposes.

“The Mass. Medical Society recognizes the importance of clinical trials on the medical use of marijuana and its derivatives. All such trials should be approved by an Institutional Review Board process.”

The MMS House of Delegates and its Committee on Legislation have, in recent years, reviewed amendments and additions to this policy and other legislative proposals on this issue. The MMS supported legislation many years ago supporting clinical trials at the Department of Public Health. While that legislation has been long enacted, no clinical trials have been done in Massachusetts.

On Dec. 3, 2011, the MMS House of Delegates voted to support Report 305, I-11 (C), submitted by the MMS Committee on Public Health and Committee on Medical Education, both of which reviewed the scientific and clinical status of medical marijuana since the 1999 Institute of Medicine report on the issue. The MMS committees concluded in their report that “there is no evidence-based clinical measurement on which to establish new policy for a change in prescribing practices” and “that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of marijuana to treat medical conditions.”

The MMS hopes that the Committee on Public Health will consider its policies and committee report in its response to House 3885.

The MMS, with nearly 24,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The society publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and Web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, the MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information, visit