Medical marijuana. Some benefits but more questions

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Goodfellow Gems

"Medical marijuana. Some benefits but more questions."

An editorial in JAMA refers to a systematic review in the same issue and reports there is some evidence of the benefit of marijuana (cannabinoids) for nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, specific pain syndromes, and spasticity from multiple sclerosis but not for hepatitis C, Crohns disease , Parkinsons or Tourettes.1,2 The evidence fails to meet FDA standards. The harms are 10% risk of addiction, potential for psychotic disorders, increased lung cancer rates, uncertainty around inhaled doses and the lifetime affective, behavioural and cognitive consequences for young users. The editors conclude that the evidence for the support medical marijuana requires the conduct of adequate clinical trials, ie the same approval process as other medications.

References:

  1. Medical marijuana. Is the cart before the horse? http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338230
  2. Whiting PF et al. Cannabinoids for Medical Use A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338251

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.


As published in NZ Doctor 05/08/2015