Although 23 US states and a number of countries around the world have laws that allow medical use of cannabis; the issue of whether or not medical marijuana works remains a matter of debate. Researchers at the University of Bristol have suggested that medical marijuana shows some effectiveness in helping treat chronic pain but there is less evidence of its success in warding off nausea or helping ill patients gain weight.
The study was based on a meta-analysis of 79 randomized controlled studies that included a total of nearly 6,500 patients.
The researchers found that there was moderate-quality evidence to suggest that cannabinoids may be beneficial for the treatment of chronic neuropathic or cancer pain and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Less convincing was the evidence suggesting that cannabinoids are associated with improvements in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome. Even less certain was marijuana's impact on reducing an individual's anxiety, psychosis or depression.
Medical marijuana carries a long list of side effects, including dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, drowsiness, confusion, loss of balance and hallucination.
The findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association