The prestigious National Academy of Sciences has published a report surveying the latest research into the effects of marijuana and the claims that marijuana provides relief for various conditions. The report was recently published in 2017. It surveyed the scientific literature to identify where significant evidence existed for cannabis health effects.
Broadly speaking, the report is a call for better and more comprehensive research. This was not terribly surprising, but the authority represented by the Academy should be a clarion call to the industry for better research. Fortunately, the PA medical marijuana program has some of the strongest research provisions in the country.
In spite of sparse evidence, the Academy was able to identify conclusive evidence for medical marijuana’s effect on:
- Treatment of chronic pain
- Antiemetics for chemotherapy-induced nausea
- Improving Multiple Sclerosis spasticity symptoms
Additional evidence is cited for improving sleep outcomes, increasing appetite and improving anxiety symptoms.
Even for conditions that have limited or no evidence, the report proves instructive. For example, although there is limited or no evidence that marijuana increases risks for myocardial infarction, the report acknowledges the cardio-stimulatory effects of marijuana and how that may contribute to myocardial risks. As a result, additional research is desirable.
As with any substance, our beneficial use increases with deeper understanding and improved research. Knowing risks and pitfalls are every bit as important in understanding therapeutic benefits. This allows the cannabis industry to operate more responsibly and effectively.
The actual report can be found here: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24625/the-health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids-the-current-state
The implementation of the Medical Marijuana Program in Pennsylvania will be key in encouraging the implementation of necessary research.