Medical Marijuana Research Studies

One area that both marijuana advocates and opponents can agree on is the lack of cannabis research and studies. Opponents use this fact to argue that all of the evidence on the medical benefits of marijuana are anecdotal which would not stand up to scientific scrutiny. And without such marijuana research and studies, largely due to the federal ban on cannabis, it’s difficult for marijuana advocates to counter the “anecdotal” argument.

One could argue that it really doesn’t matter because “anecdotal” in this case simply means it’s real people with real diseases forced to help themselves in the face of the federal government’s efforts to prolong the suffering and shorten their lives.  And this most certainly is true; when a parent sees their child being able to walk, talk, acknowledge, smile, or just have more than a few minutes between heart-wrenching seizures, does the lack of medical research really matter in the urgent need to make such life changing possibilities legally available? It really shouldn’t. There is enough “anecdotal” evidence to know with fair amount of certainty that whatever is unknown about marijuana can’t be worse than what is known about pharmaceutical drugs.


Where marijuana research and studies do matter is in overcoming the decades of lies that continues today with marijuana’s Schedule 1 classification by the federal government. Just this week, Federal prosecutors in a well publicized marijuana case defended the Schedule 1 classification stating marijuana had no medical benefits; same week as American Academy of Neurology’s press release noting a 54% decrease in seizures related to a severe epilepsy study.

Read about the New Medical Marijuana Medicine Epidiolex Study: 54% Decrease In Seizures Reported By American Academy of Neurology

Even for opponents of legalization, these types of contradictions are beginning to have an effect. And for those on the fence, things are starting to tip in marijuana’s favor as new studies are done and old studies are “rediscovered”.

In our continuing effort to gather all available existing research information on medical marijuana, below are marijuana studies, categorized by disease that have shown how medical marijuana may have the potential to help or even cure certain ailments.  The list is not meant to be comprehensive and is just another addition to our database of medical research on cannabis.

DiseaseSummaryResearch/Article Links
AIDS/HIV"In a human study of 10 HIV-positive marijuana smokers, scientists found people who smoked marijuana ate better, slept better and experienced a better mood. Another small study of 50 people found patients that smoked cannabis saw less neuropathic pain."
Alzheimer's"Medical marijuana and some of the plant's chemicals have been used to help Alzheimer's patients gain weight, and research found that it lessens some of the agitated behavior that patients can exhibit. In one cell study, researchers found it slowed the progress of protein deposits in the brain. Scientists think these proteins may be part of what causes Alzheimer's, although no one knows what causes the disease."
Arthritis"A study of 58 patients using the derivatives of marijuana found they had less arthritis pain and slept better. Another review of studies concluded marijuana may help fight pain-causing inflammation."
Asthma"Studies are contradictory, but some early work suggests it reduced exercise-induced asthma. Other cell studies showed smoking marijuana could dilate human airways, but some patients experienced a tight feeling in their chests and throats. A study in mice found similar results."
Cancer"Animal studies have shown some marijuana extracts may kill certain cancer cells. Other cell studies show it may stop cancer growth, and with mice, THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, improved the impact of radiation on cancer cells. Marijuana can also prevent the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy treatment used to treat cancer."
Chronic pain"Some animal and small human studies show that cannabinoids can have a "substantial analgesic effect." People widely used them for pain relief in the 1800s. Some medicines based on cannabis such as Sativex are being tested on multiple sclerosis patients and used to treat cancer pain. The drug has been approved in Canada and in some European countries. In another trial involving 56 human patients, scientists saw a 30% reduction in pain in those who smoked marijuana."
Crohn's disease"In a small pilot study of 13 patients watched over three months, researchers found inhaled cannabis did improve life for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. It helped ease people's pain, limited the frequency of diarrhea and helped with weight gain."
Epilepsy"Medical marijuana extract in early trials at the NYU Langone Medical Center showed a 50% reduction in the frequency of certain seizures in children and adults in a study of 213 patients recently."
Glaucoma"Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Scientists have looked at THC's impact on this disease on the optic nerve and found it can lower eye pressure, but it may also lower blood pressure, which could harm the optic nerve due to a reduced blood supply. THC can also help preserve the nerves, a small study found."
Multiple sclerosis"Using marijuana or some of the chemicals in the plant may help prevent muscle spasms, pain, tremors and stiffness, according to early-stage, mostly observational studies involving animals, lab tests and a small number of human patients. The downside -- it may impair memory, according to a small study involving 20 patients."
Source: CNN
Photo Source: Flickr:  AudioVision “Greens Up Close” Reproduced & Shared under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic
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