Home Culture The National Academy of Sciences Deems Marijuana an Effective Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences Deems Marijuana an Effective Medicine


A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine analyzed roughly 10,000 scientific studies done on the effects of cannabis since the year 1999, and the results point to the undeniable fact that marijuana is indeed an effective medicine.

While the report was inconclusive on some of the ailments that people use medical cannabis to treat, it did find marijuana was effective when treating “chronic pain in adults…chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms.”

“This report is vindication for all the many researchers, patients and healthcare providers who have long understood the benefits of medical marijuana,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “To have such a thorough review of the evidence conclude that there are benefits to medical marijuana should boost the case for federal reform. It also underlines how out of touch the DEA and other marijuana reform opponents are when they claim otherwise.”

“The National Academy of Sciences’ conclusions that marijuana possesses established therapeutic utility for certain patients and that it possesses an acceptable safety profile when compared to those of other medications or recreational intoxicants are not surprising,” said Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML). “This evidence has been available for some time, yet for decades marijuana policy in this country has largely been driven by rhetoric and emotion, not science and evidence.”

Armentano goes on to say, “A search on PubMed, the repository for all peer-reviewed scientific papers, using the term ‘marijuana’ yields over 24,000 scientific papers referencing the plant or its biologically active constituents — a far greater body of literature than exists for commonly consumed conventional drugs like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or hydrocodone. Further, unlike modern pharmaceuticals, cannabis possesses an extensive history of human use dating back thousands of years, thus providing society with ample empirical evidence as to its relative safety and efficacy.”

Millions of people use marijuana every day to treat various ailments and they can tell you how well it works. But for those who do not use marijuana – which is most of the people in positions of authority over marijuana laws – “scientific research” is needed. Mountains of studies are necessary before they will consider allowing sick people a choice when it comes to the medicine they put in their own bodies.

And even a massive report like this won’t sway many; they will point to the ailments where marijuana is seen as less effective and harp on the need for “more research.” I’m all for more research. I feel we have only found the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the things the cannabis plant can do. But no more research is needed to allow sick people the option of a less dangerous and less addictive way of treating their ailments.