Introduction and Early Definition of Abuse Potential

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According to the legislative history of the Controlled Substances Act:

“a key criterion for controlling a substance, and the one which will be used most often, is the substance’s potential for abuse.”(1)

The contemporary criteria cited in the legislative history include a definition used in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for ‘potential for abuse’. These include use of sufficient amounts to create a hazard to personal or public safety, diversion from regulated manufacturers, non-medical use, or similarity to known drugs of abuse.”(2)

A 1965 House of Representatives Report discussed the term ‘potential’ and indicates that there must be:

“a substantial potential for the occurrence of significant diversions from legitimate channels, significant use by individuals contrary to professional advice, or substantial capability of creating hazards to the health of the user or the safety of the community. . .”(3)

for such potential to exist.

A comparison of an authoritative 1987 review of marijuana’s potential for abuse with these 1970 criteria will frame some of the issues addressed by this petition. Since a considerable amount of the research reported in this petition not only follow but confirm the assertions of this review, it provides a valuable baseline assessment.