Last week, a report was published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine following their analysis of more than 10,000 cannabis related research articles. The report titled, “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,” claims nearly 100 research conclusions. One of the most important conclusions from their analysis, however, is the amount of knowledge we do not yet know about cannabis. This is because there are so many barriers preventing research on cannabis’ medicinal qualities. Scientists who want to study cannabis must receive approval from federal, state, and local agencies.
These research restrictions all stem from the fact that cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It is important to note that other substances listed in this category include heroin and LSD. Substances classified as ‘less dangerous’ include oxycodone and fentanyl.
The National Academies of Sciences’ committee’s review of existing studies did find “conclusive or substantial evidence” that compounds within the cannabis plant can effectively treat chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy and some symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
The report could not conclude that cannabis is effective at treating other conditions such as epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because there have not been enough scientific studies to prove it. One can easily recognize the positive effects cannabis has had on these conditions by observing those who use it as treatment. Unfortunately, it may take years before enough studies have been conducted to demonstrate “conclusive or substantial evidence”.
There is hope, however, with scientific activists such as Sue Sisley who fought for over seven years to finally be approved to research the effects of marijuana on PTSD.
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