Published: Sat, January 14, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Massive report on cannabis confirms health benefits, calls for more research

Massive report on cannabis confirms health benefits, calls for more research

According to the report, that's at least partly because the federal drug enforcement agency's designation of the drug as as Schedule I substance - having "no now accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse" - entails so many restrictions that it has been hard for researchers to do rigorous research on marijuana. But 28 states and the District of Columbia now permit some form of medical marijuana use, in large part because voters themselves changed the state laws.

"This report is vindication for all the many researchers, patients and healthcare providers who have long understood the benefits of medical marijuana", Michael Collins, Deputy Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement issued on Thursday. Heavy marijuana users are more likely that non-users to have suicidal thoughts, according to the results.

Levels of THC and CBD vary widely between strains of marijuana, and it will be hard to measure the impact of pot if researchers don't create standards for measuring exposure to those compounds, Wallace said. The report lists cannabis as a pain relief among other medical uses. He said there are strong parallels with alcohol: "Some people use it recreationally and other people burn their lives to the ground with it".

"We are open-minded in the medical community in engaging in more research", he said.

Researches found that cannabis can relieve symptoms for some patients. Last August the DEA once again refused to reclassify marijuana but agreed to start accepting applications from additional marijuana producers.

A number of studies have suggested that cannabis use can have negative implications for mental health, and from their scientific review, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conclude that this is the case.

Additionally, the committee found limited evidence smoking cannabis increased the likelihood of the user partaking in other drugs, with cannabis at most providing a gateway to increased tobacco usage. He said he rarely prescribes cannabis because he has a host of concerns about the lack of evidence surrounding the drug, including how it could react with other medications and its effect on driving.

Despite the volume of research, the main thing the report revealed was just how much there is still to learn.

The report notes that marijuana legalization has been followed by increases in accidental ingestion of cannabis by children, which is usually not medically serious but can depress respiration. Further, the committee found that smoking marijuana "does not increase the risk for cancers often associated with tobacco use - such as lung and head and neck cancers". Measuring marijuana's impact on actual vehicle crashes is hard, however, not least because studies generally equate a positive test for marijuana with intoxication, treating sober drivers as if they were stoned. However, the report did link to respiratory problems consequent to smoking marijuana but those problems improved once the individual stopped using the product.

She and her committee colleagues considered more than 10,700 abstracts of studies on cannabis's health effects published between January 1, 1999, and August 1, 2016. "There is no rational or scientific justification for our nation's current marijuana prohibition policy".

During his presidential campaign, Trump said whether pot should be legal was a matter for states to decide, but he recently referred to Colorado's cannabis regime as a "real problem".

Sixteen experts in public health and related fields spent months reviewing thousands of studies that have been done to date, and cited evidence that marijuana and its cannabinoid spin-offs can alleviate chronic pain in adults.

While I welcome the self-correction, I doubt research will ever resolve this issue.

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