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Medical Marijuana Study Shows Stunning Effect On Treating Pain, Nausea

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Israel’s medical marijuana program is a stunning success when it comes to treating people for pain and nausea, according to a study presented at the International Jerusalem Conference on Health Policy.

The study, released May 26, is the first its kind examining cancer and non-cancer patients who’ve been given permission by Israel’s health ministry to use marijuana for treatment.

Lead researcher Prof. Pesach Shvartzman of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Health Sciences Faculty said the vast majority of patients reported the drug helped relieve pain and nausea.

Israel has licensed more than 22,000 patients to use medical marijuana, but until now there has been no information about the users themselves.

Despite enjoying relief from pain and nausea, some patients suffered minor side effects. These included dry mouth, hunger, sleepiness and fatigue. Patients were observed for two years.

Almost all – 99.6 percent – of the patients applied to use medical marijuana after all other conventional medicines proved ineffective.

More than 40 percent of patients were given a recommendation by their doctor to use marijuana, with 75 percent choosing to smoke it, 21 percent using oils and the rest vaping. Less than one in 10 patients stopped using the drug after they were first surveyed.

The study was released the same day as new data in the U.S. showed the number of teens using and suffering from problems related to marijuana is falling at the same time more states are legalizing marijuana.

A study of more than 216,000 teens from across the country indicated a substantial decline in problems related to marijuana use.

Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the research shows teen marijuana use dropped 10 percent between 2002 and 2013, despite a string of states decriminalizing and legalizing weed. (RELATED: Study: Teen Marijuana Use And Crime Collapses As States Legalize)

The research team from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis examined data on drug use over a 12-year time horizon for teens ages 12-17. Teens suffering from marijuana dependency or having trouble at school and in relationships plummeted by 24 percent over this period.

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