New Study Doubts Marijuana’s Medical Uses

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The Journal of the American Medical Association published multiple articles Tuesday that casted doubt on whether marijuana can treat many of the illnesses states have approved it for, and found that marijuana edibles are frequently mislabeled.

“Perhaps it is time to place the horse back in front of the cart,” wrote Yale Psychiatrists Drs. Deepak Cyril D’Souza and Mohini Ranganathan in an editorial published by the journal.

The review analyzed 79 studies that involved more than 6,000 patients. The studies they used involved comparing marijuana use to a placebo, typical care, or no treatment.

The analysis found that there was, “moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity,” but that, “There was low-quality evidence suggesting that cannabinoids were associated with improvements in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome.”

Currently 23 states, including Washington D.C, have laws allowing for medical marijuana use.

The editorial indicts the current process that has been used to approve medical marijuana, with the authors writing,”For most qualifying conditions, approval has relied on low quality scientific evidence, anecdotal reports, individual testimonials, legislative initiatives, and public opinion. Imagine if other drugs were approved through a similar approach.”

Medical marijuana advocates have long blamed federal policies restricting marijuana research from allowing researches to gain more knowledge on marijuana’s benefits and side-effects.

The White House yesterday though, lifted a barrier blocking potential marijuana researchers. Previously, prospective researchers needed on top of approval from the FDA, approval from the Public Health Service. That extra approval from the PHS, overlapped with the Food and Drug Administration process and was removed. (RELATED:Obama Administration Removes Major Barrier To Marijuana Research)

Along with the review published of marijuana’s potential medical benefits, the journal released a study that reviewed 47 different brands of medical marijuana edibles, testing for the THC contents in the products. THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is marijuana’s active ingredient.

While one out of four of the products had higher amounts than labeled, the majority had lower than listed values. Only 17 out of 75 products had accurate amounts.

“A couple of products that were supposed to contain 100 milligrams of THC but had only two to three [milligrams],”said Ryan Vandrey, lead author and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University to NPR.

Approximately 16 to 23 percent of medical cannabis use edible products, leading to worries that patients are taking drugs that might not only not treat their illness, but are also mislabeled.