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The One Essential Article on Medical Marijuana

by Bruce Mirken

We’ve all heard the claims before – from federal officials, police groups opposing state medical marijuana bills, etc. – that there is no evidence that marijuana is a legitimate medicine. Readers of this blog know that’s nonsense, but there’s been a need for an article in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that lays out the scientific case in a clear, tightly-focused way.

Recently, a group of scientists published a review article in the Journal of Opioid Management that does just that. The article, “Medicinal Use of Cannabis in the United States: Historical Perspectives, Current Trends, and Future Directions,” is one every medical marijuana activist should keep handy.

The authors, led by Sunil Aggarwal of the University of Washington, walk readers through the massive body of medical evidence for marijuana’s safety and efficacy, including “the 33 completed and published American controlled clinical trials with cannabis.” They note that “nearly all of the 33 published controlled clinical trials with cannabis conducted in the United States have shown significant and measurable benefits in subjects receiving the treatment.”

They also point out that the federal government has conducted only one long-term study of medical marijuana, the IND program that still provides marijuana to four patients. But it’s a study in name only, as “no clinical response data in the patient cohort have ever been systematically collected or disseminated.”

Translation: If officials don’t know that marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, it’s because they don’t want to know.

Read the debate on Does Marijuana Have Medical Value?


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