New Research on Marijuana Exposes Its Health Benefits and Harms
On January 12 the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) released a massive research report outlining the health benefits and harms of cannabis also known as marijuana. Examining more than 10,000 scientific studies, the report broke down the data according to the level of evidence to support their conclusions. This is the first comprehensive report of its kind since 1999.
More than 28 states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and another eight states and the District of Columbia permit its recreational use, so the publication of this analysis is timely.
Conclusive Benefits: According to the researchers, relief of chronic pain and reduction of the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy were substantially improved with the use of cannabis. Symptoms associated with conditions like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis also showed significant cannabis related benefit.
Conclusive Harms: The report concluded that cannabis increases the risk of developing schizophrenia, social anxiety disorders and mania. Not so astonishing was the finding that increased frequency of marijuana use increased the likelihood of developing “problem cannabis use.” Cannabis is substantially associated with an increase in bronchitis, motor vehicle accidents and low birth weight with use during pregnancy, the experts reported.
Inconclusive Evidence: The beneficial or harmful effects of cannabis on cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, and spinal cord spasticity were inclusive according to report.
For a summary and additional easy to understand information go to: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2017/Cannabis-Health-Effects/Cannabis-conclusions.pdf
The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, January 2017. National Academies of Science. Online [Available at]: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx [Accessed January 15, 2017].