Medical Marijuana: Review Shows Pot Helps These Conditions

Medical marijuana may provide some benefit for patients with chronic nerve pain or cancer pain, as well as people who have multiple sclerosis and experience muscle spasms, according to a new review study.

However, there is not much evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana for other reasons, such as sleep disorders, Tourette syndrome and anxiety disorders. And marijuana doesn’t appear to help people with depression or psychosis, or those with eye pressure from glaucoma, the study found.

Still, many of the studies done to date that found that marijuana had little or no effect were small, or lacked a rigorous design, the researchers said. Larger, more robust studies are needed to confirm the medical effects of cannabinoids, the compounds that are the active ingredients in marijuana, the researchers said in their findings, published today (June 23) in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“There is evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity,” said study co-author Penny Whiting, a senior research fellow in epidemiology and health services research at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom  “However, this needs to be balanced against an increased risk of side effects,” which can include dizziness, dry mouth, nausea and sleepiness, Whiting said.

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