Report : Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids

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A wide ranging report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the potential health impacts of marijuana and cannabis-derived products on human health has been published.

The committee involved with the study and report reviewed 10,000 scientific abstracts and has reached close to 100 conclusions.

“For years the landscape of marijuana use has been rapidly shifting as more and more states are legalizing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions and recreational use,” said Marie McCormick, chair of the Committee.

“We conducted an in-depth and broad review of the most recent research to establish firmly what the science says and to highlight areas that still need further examination. As laws and policies continue to change, research must also.”

In terms of therapeutic benefits, the committee states it found evidence indicating chronic pain patients using cannabis compounds or products were more likely to experience significant reduction in pain symptoms.

Moderate evidence was found supporting the use of medical cannabis for sleep disturbance associated with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and fibromyalgia.

The Committee also noted substantial evidence that oral cannabinoids improved symptoms related to multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms.

Conclusive evidence was found concerning certain oral cannabinoids being effective in preventing and treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in adults.

For patients already experiencing these benefits – and many for quite some time; it may seem a case of telling them something they already know, but publications such as this do have some clout.

Limited evidence was found supporting the use of cannabis and its compounds in increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS, alleviating intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma and reducing symptoms associated with PTSD.

The report also examined the link between cannabis and a range of  potential negative health effects; such as cancer, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

The Committee has recommended more research on the beneficial and harmful effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use; however it says such research faces some challenges including regulatory barriers and access to suitable quality and volume of cannabis products.

The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017) can be viewed in full here.