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Medical marijuana meta-analysis shows weak evidence it works

by AirTalk®

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Care-carrying medical marijuana patients sample the brownies at Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis farmer's market at the West Coast Collective medical marijuana dispensary, on the fourth of July, or Independence Day, in Los Angeles, California on July 4, 2014 where organizer's of the 3-day event plan to showcase high quality cannabis from growers and vendors throughout the state. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

A comprehensive analysis of 79 studies published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown weak evidence that medical marijuana is effective in treating a variety of ailments, such as hepatitis C, Crohn disease, and Parkinson disease.

The studies involved over 6,000 patients and covered illnesses from anxiety and sleep disorder to multiple sclerosis and Tourette’s syndrome. The experts in JAMA say there is some evidence to support the use of marijuana for nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, specific pain syndromes, and spasticity from multiple sclerosis. Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use despite the federal government’s classification of it as a Schedule I controlled substance. Approved conditions vary from state to state, including conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s disease and kidney disease.

One of the studies looked at the efficacy of edibles, the majority of which were determined to have improperly labeled THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content.

Because evidence from high-quality studies is lacking, the editorial in the recommendations encourages federal and state governments to support such research.

Will this analysis stymie medical marijuana in California? What effect will it have on other states considering medical marijuana legislation? To what extent will this open up future research on the subject?

Medical Marijuana: Is the Cart Before the Horse?


Dr. Mohini Ranganathan, M.D., (F)  (MOH-hee-nee  rahng-ah-NAH-then), Editorial Co-Writer of “Medical Marijuana: Is the Cart Before the Horse?”;  Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

Christopher W. Brown, Press Secretary, Americans for Safe Access - its mission is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research

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