Doctors are allowed to prescribe marijuana to their patients in 25 states now. Others still use marijuana for its medicinal effects. But due to the limited research on medical marijuana, many still wonder, and still don’t know what all medical cannabis can help them with.
This CBS clip might clear some of these things up for you. It covers research derived from one of the largest and most comprehensive reviews on medical marijuana. The researchers of this review looked at 79 studies, and 6,500 patients. Here’s what they found:
There was a moderate level of evidence to support the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain (specifically with neuropathy or cancer).
There was also evidence of marijuana helping patients with spasticity, typically associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
They did however find that there was less evidence that marijuana could help: sleep disorders, anorexia, eating disorders, tourette syndrome, weight gain in HIV patients, and nausea in chemotherapy patients.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that medical cannabis is not effective at treating these problems, it simply means there has not been enough evidence, or research to support these findings.
Over 80% of the patients in these studies reported side effects. Most of these side effects were mild: dry mouth, dizziness, sleepiness and confusion.
But they say there is a concern for more serious effects, involving cognitive effects. This may include: increased levels of anxiety or psychosis, concerns for how it effects the developing brain in adolescents and teens etc. But in order to truly determine if these are are serious side effects to be concerned over, more research needs to be done.
What Medical Marijuana Is Prescribed For:
Epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, PTSD
Medical Concern: Mislabeled Edibles:
Researchers looked at over 70 products and found that only 17% of these were accurately labeled! 23% were under-labeled and 60% were over-labeled. This may be a pretty big reason as to why so many people are “overdosing” on marijuana.
If medical marijuana were legalized across the United States, or even rescheduled, then it would be far easier to regulate things like this. Then we could also conduct more research, so doctors and their patients can be more comfortable and more informed.
But until then, for patients that are suffering, they are willing to try anything – especially something with mild side effects.