Marijuana maybe slightly effective at reducing chronic nerve pain known as neuropathy. But there’s little evidence on whether or not pot helps treat other types of pain or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a pair of new studies suggests.
Medical marijuana is legal in almost all states in the united States including the District of Columbia for certain medical purposes. Some states may have laws that haven’t yet been implemented, according to NORML, a pro-marijuana legalization group.
But research into the medical uses of marijuana remains controversial. Plus, it’s difficult for scientists to study the drug because it is illegal on the federal level.
However, some research has found positive results. Earlier this year, the National Academy of Sciences released a report saying there is conclusive or substantial scientific evidence that marijuana is effective at treating chronic pain, calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, and easing nausea from chemotherapy.
The new reviews into pain and PTSD were commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The department refused to allow the authors of the reviews to be interviewed to discuss the findings.
For the review of research into chronic nerve pain and marijuana, the researchers examined 27 studies. The investigators determined that there’s “low strength” evidence that marijuana can help nerve pain. But there’s just not enough reliable research to come to a conclusion about whether marijuana is useful for other types of pain, the study authors determined.
The researchers also looked at 32 studies and 11 reviews of research on side effects. They noted several potential risks of marijuana use such as car accidents, psychotic symptoms and short-term cognitive impairment.
However, the review noted that research into risks and side effects is limited.
The researchers said their findings may have “limited applicability to older, chronically ill populations and patients who use cannabis heavily.
Just because states list certain conditions for which medical cannabis can be prescribed does not mean there is strong or rigorous scientific data supporting its use.
Patients should be aware of potential benefits, and also potential harms before taking this hard drugs.