There is “reasonable evidence” that smoked marijuana can provide relief for certain pain-related ailments, according to a new report prepared for the California legislature by researchers at the University of California at San Diego.
Five clinical trials conducted by the school's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) found that smoking marijuana can ease pain related to injuries related to injuries or nervous-system diseases, and may also help multiple-sclerosis patients who suffer painful muscle spasms.
“We focused on illnesses where current medical treatment does not provide adequate relief or coverage of symptoms,” said CMCR director Igor Grant, M.D. “These findings provide a strong, science-based context in which policymakers and the public can begin discussing the place of cannabis in medical care.”
The findings were the first in the U.S. based on clinical trials using smoked marijuana in two decades; most previous studies of the medical uses of the drug have utilized synthetic THC or other artificial forms of the drug. The UCSD studies have been published in various medical journals.
Drug-reform and medical-marijuana advocates called on the Obama administration to use the findings as a springboard for loosening restrictions on the drug (currently listed as a Schedule I drug, with no medical uses) and other research projects into its potential medical value. “The evidence is in,” said California NORML director Dale Gieringer, who sat on the CMCR advisory board. “The time has come for the government to change its policy and recognize the medical value of marijuana.”
Calif. Sen. Mark Leno, a supporter of medical marijuana, added, “For too long the full evaluation of the therapeutic value of medical marijuana has been hindered by the lack of high quality scientific studies … Today we have solid, scientific research that will benefit patients in California and across the globe.”