Thursday January 30 8:26 AM EST Report: Feds shelve pro-pot study

BOSTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) _ The federal government reportedly has failed to make public its own 1994 study that seems to undercut its position that marijuana is carcinogenic.

The Boston Globe reports Thursday the study not only indicates the main ingredient inmarijuana _ THC _ does not cause cancer, but laboratory tests on animals show it may even protect against malignancies.

The report comes on the heels of an editorial in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine that favors the controlled medical use of marijuana, and calls current federal policy ``misguided, heavy-handed and inhumane.''

The Clinton administration has said that doctors prescribing marijuana could be prosecuted for a federal crime.

Marijuana has been reported to ease the pain, nausea and vomiting in advanced stages of cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses, but the federal government claims other treatments have been deemed safer than whatit calls ``a psychoactive, burning carcinogen.''

However, The Globe says the government's claim appears to be undercut by the $2 million study by the National Toxicology Program. The program's deputy director, John Bucher, says the study ``found absolutely no evidence of cancer.'' In fact, animals that received THC had fewer cancers. Bucher denies his agency had been pressured to shelve the report, saying the delay in making it public was due to a personnel shortage.

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