COMMENTARY

Medical Marijuana: The State of the Science

Michael E. Schatman, PhD

Disclosures

February 06, 2015

In This Article

Summary

Medical cannabinoids are here to stay, but intellectual honesty is imperative if we are moving toward exploiting their potential benefits. Owing to rising THC concentrations of products, "medical" marijuana is rarely good medicine. This review has identified the dangers associated with whole-plant marijuana, whether used for recreational or for supposedly medical purposes.

CBD, on the other hand, has a rich and expanding body of empirical support for safety, and more recently, for clinical efficacy in the treatment of numerous refractory conditions. However, it is premature to consider CBD a panacea for all that ails our patients. With legislative changes, access to CBD for both experimental and clinical use will become progressively less complicated, which should result in the publication of high-quality research of its efficacy and safety.

In addition, ease of access should help us better comprehend such issues as ideal routes of administration and dosing. With the facilitation of access to CBD that we are witnessing, in conjunction with problems associated with medical marijuana dispensary systems, is there any reason to not dismantle the dispensary systems as they currently exist? Recreational marijuana is a completely separate issue, and we owe it to our patients—as well as to society as a whole—to make sure that these entities are not joined. Only such a "separation of church and state" will result in unlocking of some of the mysteries surrounding medical cannabinoids, thereby allowing us to increase our treatment armamentaria.

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