Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states across the US, but a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that the evidence to support the benefits of the drug is very little. Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine reviewed a dozen of clinical trials in which medical marijuana was analyzed for 10 conditions. The study indicates that in spite of the fact that the substance could help with spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, neuropathic and cancer pain, there is no proof that medical marijuana is good for other uses such as sleep disorders, Tourette syndrome, vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy and weight gain in HIV.
The scientists involved in the study reviewed 80 randomized trials in which 6.500 persons took part. They discovered that cannabinoids – the active principals in marijuana showed moderate evidence of usefulness in the case of spasticity, cancer and neuropathic pain. However for other symptoms and conditions the evidence was not strong enough. In addition it seems that the adverse effects of the drug are quite a lot and they include dry mouth, dizziness, somnolence, fatigue, euphoria, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, disorientation, confusion, hallucination and loss of balance.
There are two main cannabinoids which make marijuana useful for medical purposes – CBD and THC. When cannabis is prepared the variations of these two compounds are wide so it is difficult to establish a precise dosing. And besides these two main cannabinoids, marijuana contains more than 400 compounds, unlike most manufactured drugs approved by the FDA which contain no more than two active components.
Deepak Cyril D’Souza and Mohini Ranganathan from the Yale School of Medicine remarked:
“Given the variable composition, patients will have to experiment with different strains and doses to achieve the desired effects, without much input or oversight by physicians.”
Researchers also took into account other factors such as reduced eye pressure in the case of patients who suffered from glaucoma, psychosis, anxiety and depression. The evidence that medical marijuana may be useful in these conditions was not conclusive.
Another study conducted separately indicates that only 17% of the edible marijuana products coming from randomly selected dispensaries in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco were accurately labeled when it came to CBD and THC content. This means that patients either do not get the expected results or they could experience harmful effects.
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