Questions remain about the benefits and harms of cannabis

April 3, 2017
cannabis
Cannabis indica. Credit: Wikipedia

Despite dramatic changes in the legal landscape and usage rates of cannabis, evidence is still lacking regarding its potential health and therapeutic effects. Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its third comprehensive review of the literature surrounding cannabis and made recommendations for future research. The authors of an Ideas and Opinions piece published in Annals of Internal Medicine summarized the group's key findings in an effort to educate physicians on the most relevant health outcomes of cannabis use and the potential therapeutic indications for cannabis and cannabinoid products.

Currently, 28 states and the District of Columbia legalized cannabis for medical use and 7 states and the District of Columbia also allow recreational cannabis use. In those states that allow some access to cannabis compounds, cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, seizures and epilepsy, and are among the most recognized qualifying conditions for cannabis therapy. The committee found substantial evidence that cannabinoid products were modestly effective in the short term for reducing chronic pain. However, many studies used purified oral cannabinoid preparations and most trials were short term and conducted in patients with , which limits the generalizability of the findings.

The group also examined the evidence about the harms of cannabis use. Substantial supports a link between long-term cannabis smoking and adverse respiratory symptoms. Smoking was also shown to be associated with several other negative effects, including the development of schizophrenia and other psychoses among the most frequent users.

Explore further: Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey

More information: http://annals.org/aim/article/doi/10.7326/M17-0501

Related Stories

Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey

March 9, 2017
People with epilepsy resort to cannabis products when antiepileptic drug side-effects are intolerable and epilepsy uncontrolled.

Do cannabis users think package warnings are needed?

December 6, 2016
Legalization of cannabis for medical or leisure use is increasing in the U.S., and many experts and cannabis users alike agree that package warnings stating the health risks are needed. The warnings suggested by cannabis ...

Given the choice, patients will reach for cannabis over prescribed opioids

February 27, 2017
Chronic pain sufferers and those taking mental health meds would rather turn to cannabis instead of their prescribed opioid medication, according to new research by the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. ...

Smoking marijuana provides more pain relief for men than women

August 18, 2016
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that men had greater pain relief than women after smoking marijuana.

Medicinal Cannabis—harms or benefits? Who decides?

December 21, 2016
Wellington researchers are calling for doctors to be more involved in the debate around cannabis as a medicine.

Cannabis can relieve pain, but carries risks: US report

January 12, 2017
Marijuana and cannabis can help to safely alleviate pain for some patients but many uncertainties remain about their health and safety risks, according to a major scientific review published Thursday.

Recommended for you

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

Study shows cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum

August 17, 2017
The use of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or nasal sprays—together called "nicotine replacement therapy," or NRT—came into play in 1984 as prescription medicine, which when combined with counseling, helped ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.