Medical Marijuana Risks vs Benefits

Medical Marijuana Risks vs Benefits

A new paper published in the Canadian Family Physician reported on a systematic review of systematic reviews of medical marijuana. 

The objective of the review was to determine the effects of medical cannabinoids on pain, spasticity, and nausea and vomiting, and to identify adverse events. 

The authors focused on conditions for which medical cannabinoids have the greatest evidence base and therefore likelihood of positive medical outcomes. 

The review concluded that adverse effects from medical marijuana are very common and that the benefits should therefore be considerable to warrant trials of therapy. 

Reasonable evidence suggests that cannabinoids improve nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy and may improve spasticity primarily in multiple sclerosis.  

Pain relief may or may not result from cannabinoids, but if it does it is likely small and limited to neuropathic pain.  

This review provides a balanced assessment of the risks vs benefits of marijuana use for medical treatment. 

These scientific findings stand in stark contrast to the overzealous claims of health and medical benefits espoused by the marijuana industry. 

Youth and young adults should be informed of the risks vs benefits of medical marijuana to counter exaggerated and inaccurate pro-use advertising and information commonly found online and in social media. 

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