COMMENTARY

What Do We Know About Medical Marijuana?

Erik Smith, MD; G. Malik Burnett, MD

Disclosures

November 14, 2022

MALIK BURNETT, MD: There are a subset of patients who may use cannabis to self-medicate for various mental health conditions, and that's where we fall into a slippery slope.

ERIK SMITH, MD: There has been a tremendous amount of research on cannabis, but [it’s] something that we didn't necessarily focus on in medical school because it didn’t go through a double-blinded, controlled trial and assessment of medication and proven therapies.

BURNETT: My name is Malik Burnett. I'm an addiction medicine physician here in the city of Baltimore.

SMITH: My name is Dr. Erik Smith, and I'm a cannabinoid medicine physician.

BURNETT: A lot of the patients that I see are using it for migraine headaches, lower back pain, knee pain, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual cramping, insomnia, anxiety, things that we just don't have great pharmaceutical strategies to address.

SMITH: So we have many arms of research currently in the United States in various forms. It's not the type of research that we would like to see from cannabinoid medicine, but we are relying on outside therapies to give us more information about cannabis. And we're waiting for the United States to change the classification to do more.

Patients are ahead of the research, and they want control over their health care. And they are eager to find something else they can control that gives them great support.

BURNETT: What we have the opportunity now to do is to effectively ensure that when people are using cannabis that they can do so in a safe and informed manner, and I think that, over time, the level of safety and the level of information that is available to the average cannabis consumer will grow. And that will be a good thing for public health and a good thing for clinical medicine.

This video originally appeared on WebMD on November 4, 2022

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