What’s the Medical Evidence that Supports Marijuana Use for Medical Indications?


Dr Massoomi Marijuana smokingjpg


In the most recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) these authors performed a review of the 79 studies that involved 6462 patients.  Conclusions:

  • Moderate-quality evidence that cannabinoid use might benefit patients with chronic pain or muscle spasticity
  • Low-quality evidence that marijuana use prevents nausea and vomiting secondary to cancer chemotherapy, leads to weight gain in patients with HIV, promotes uninterrupted sleep, or lessens tic severity in Tourette syndrome.
  • No evidence of benefit was shown for: depression, anxiety disorder, psychosis, hepatitis C infection, Crohn disease, Parkinson disease, and glaucoma

Additionally, in this study they found that most marijuana dispensaries did not correctly label the amount of active ingredient in their sold products.  Of the cannabinoid content of 75 edible marijuana products (47 different brands) purchased at dispensaries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, only 17% of these products were labeled correctly:

  • 60% contained cannabinoid levels at least 10% lower than those listed on the label
  • 23% contained cannabinoid levels at least 10% higher than labeled.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier blog postings, marijuana may have some benefits but it also has significant side effects, especially when undergoing surgery.

Please be mindful of any type of smoking around the time surgery, tobacco and marijuana.  During your consultation with your physician or surgeon, it is best to be up front about any of your habit which may be harmful to you during surgery.

Citation: Thomas L. Schwenk, MD reviewing Whiting PF et al. JAMA 2015 Jun 23/30. Vandrey R et al. JAMA 2015 Jun 23/30. D’Souza DC and Ranganathan M. JAMA 2015 Jun 23/30.