The politics of medical marijuana have far outstripped the science in this country, largely, researchers say, because the federal government has been reluctant to fund studies, or even make the material legally available in sufficient quantity and quality for definitive analyses.

As a result, policymakers in states including Florida have been drafting legislation and guidelines in the dark, without enough information about what the cannabis plant can and can’t do for human health. The Florida Legislature is expected to come closer to an agreement next week on the rules for medical marijuana in this state.

But on Friday, a symposium organized by the University of South Florida’s College of Pharmacy sought to peel away the political obscurities from this controversial topic, and concentrate solely on the medicinal future of cannabis. Doctors at the meeting discussed Israel’s ongoing social experiment with medical marijuana and revealed that in June China is expected to declare that cannabinoids are officially accepted as therapeutic drugs.

And they discussed technological and chemical breakthroughs being deployed to make the healing aspects of cannabis affordable and available in exact dosages, without the high and adverse side effects most people associate with the drug.

“Anything futuristic, any change, any evolution in health care, we want to be a part of it,” said Kevin Sneed, dean of the college. “We want to open up a dialog and discussion about the future of that plant. Ultimately, we are trying to improve somebody’s daily life.”

 

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