When comparing assessments, a combination of results is observed (see Fig. 8), and some were reported per study. One review found no statistically significant difference between cannabinoids and codeine for nociceptive pain, postoperative pain, and cancer pain. Another review preferred “other medications” over cannabinoids for neuropathic pain. The distribution of findings was similar when limited to moderate to high quality assessments.
Because cannabis is approved through legislation rather than regulation, there are no labels, dosage recommendations, or time instructions that doctors can consult. Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, is the cannabis and cannabinoids prescribed by doctors to their patients. The use of cannabis as a medicine has not been rigorously tested due to production and government restrictions, resulting in limited clinical research to define the safety and efficacy of using cannabis for the treatment of disease. The National Academies rate the scientific test for better sleep with cannabis as only “moderate” in people with health problems that disrupt sleep. More than 1 in 3 people in a Colorado survey tried it for sleep; 86 percent said it helped. By connecting to cannabinoid receptors on brain cells, THC and CBD can come together for better sleep, at least in the short term, in people with insomnia due to pain, obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety.
It has been suggested that the use of cannabinoids helps manage neurological and non-neurological disorders. The clinical trials of cannabis as a treatment for PD that have been conducted are generally small studies prone to bias. Most studies have not followed the gold standard of clinical trials of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study design. The overwhelming support behind the use of medical marijuana probably makes you wonder how exactly people benefit from it.
For feasibility, we limited ourselves to English reviews and it is unknown how many of the 39 reviews in other languages we examined would have met our eligibility criteria. The decision to limit the inclusion of observational data assessments to adverse event data was taken during the full-text screening process and for pragmatic reasons. We also did not consider a successful database search for ongoing systematic reviews; however, in preparing this report, we conducted a search and determined that completed reviews were already eligible or unavailable at the time of the literature review. When plotting the results, we have chosen a broad perspective, which may be different than if these reviews were assessed more formally during a review of systematic reviews.
Side effects and safety of medical marijuana, as opposed to recreational use, are only available with short-term use. There remains a significant degree of clinical team regarding the benefits and harms of using marijuana for medical purposes. To understand the scope of the synthesized evidence underlying this issue, we conducted a review of the scope of systematic reviews that assessed the benefits and/or harms of cannabis (plant, plant, and synthetic forms) for each medical condition. We locate and map systematic reviews to summarize research available for consideration for practice or policy questions related to medical marijuana.
For MS and HIV/AIDS, one review reported quantitative results in favor of cannabis for pain reduction, but with other reviews reporting the results study by study, it’s hard to know, generally speaking, how consistent those findings are. For cancer, two reviews reported results that favored cannabis for pain reduction. For rheumatic diseases, the findings are discrepancy between two assessments and two other reviews reported results per study.
In rheumatic diseases, one review reported fewer overall side effects with cannabis and found no statistically significant difference between cannabis and placebo for withdrawal due to side effects. Nearly 1 million Americans, including many 45 and older, live with the debilitating muscle spasms and pain of multiple sclerosis. In fact, people with MS are the second largest group of medical marijuana users in the United States, after chronic pain patients.
Of potential interest to readers may be a more detailed examination of reviews that assess chronic pain, to pinpoint the source of the discordance. For example, one review was rated as moderate, used the GRADE framework, and rated the quality of evidence for cannabis’ effectiveness in reducing neuropathic pain as moderate, suggesting that Worcester medical marijuana card further research on cannabis for neuropathic pain may be warranted. There is insufficient data to draw solid conclusions about the safety of medicinal cannabis. In general, the adverse effects of medicinal cannabis use are not serious; they include fatigue, dizziness, increased appetite, and cardiovascular and psychoactive effects.
While adults who stop using marijuana show no progression in cognitive decline, those under the age of 25 may continue to have cognitive decline after discontinuation. However, given the range of available sources of marijuana administration and the different THC concentrations, it is difficult to quantify the long-term effects. Dealing with constant discomfort and pain is the main cause of prescription pain medication and subsequent addiction. Fortunately, marijuana provides pain relief and a higher quality of life for people suffering from chronic pain without the debilitating physical addiction that is often a byproduct of opioid treatments. Pain from trauma-induced injuries, arthritis pains, and even some pains caused by cancer can be checked regularly with medical marijuana products or raw flowers.