‘Gold Standard’ Studies Show That Inhaled Marijuana Is Medically Safe And Effective

The results of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing the efficacy of inhaled marijuana consistently show that cannabis holds therapeutic value comparable to conventional medications, according to the findings of a 24-page report issued earlier today to the California state legislature by the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR).
Four of the five placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that marijuana significantly alleviated neuropathy, a difficult to treat type of pain resulting from nerve damage.
“There is good evidence now that cannabinoids (the active compounds in the marijuana plant) may be either an adjunct or a first-line treatment for … neuropathy,” said Dr. Igor Grant, Director of the CMCR, at a news conference at the state Capitol.  He added that the efficacy of smoked marijuana was “very consistent,” and that its pain-relieving effects were “comparable to the better existing treatments” presently available by prescription.
A fifth study showed that smoked cannabis reduced the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.  A separate study conducted by the CMCR established that the vaporization of cannabis – a process that heats the substance to a temperature where active cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion – is a “safe and effective” delivery mode for patients who desire the rapid onset of action associated with inhalation while avoiding the respiratory risks of smoking.
Two additional clinical trials remain ongoing.
The CMCR program was founded in 2000 following an $8.7 million appropriation from the California state legislature.  The studies are some of the first placebo-controlled clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis as a medicine to take place in over two decades.
Placebo-controlled clinical crossover trials are considered to be the ‘gold standard’ method for assessing the efficacy of drugs under the US FDA-approval process.
“These scientists created an unparalleled program of systematic research, focused on science-based answers rather than political or social beliefs,” said former California Senator John Vasconcellos, who sponsored the legislation in 1999 to launch the CMCR.  Vasconcellos called the studies’ design “state of art,” and suggested that the CMCR’s findings “ought to settle the issue” of whether or not medical marijuana is a safe and effective medical treatment for patients.
“This (report) confirms all of the anecdotal evidence – how lives have been saved and pain has been eased,” said California Democrat Senator Mark Leno at the press conference.  “Now we have the science to prove it.”
Full text of the CMCR’s report to the California legislature is available at online at: http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/CMCR_REPORT_FEB17.pdf.

0 thoughts

  1. The only reason it’s not legal is because people are scared. Legalization will revolutionize American, probably international society entirely. There will be a lot of new jobs, and a lot of lost jobs. Cash flows will change dramatically; opinions will change dramatically. We’re alive at a great point in history right now; starting with California, the USA is finally gathering the balls to push this over the edge. I don’t smoke much anymore, but let’s GOOOO NORML!

  2. I may be cynical, but I don’t think this will impress any politician. They have known as much. Many expensive studies have been conducted in the past, many of them recommending legalization. It’s about money. Many profit from incarceration, and certainly the powerful drug companies stand to lose business to medical marijuana.Then there is the ever present family values crowd – and they don’t exactly care about statistics or science, just gut feelings. The amount of evidence for medical marijuana was simply overwhelming in my state (Minnesota) and the the governor vetoed the bill under pressure from mostly law enforcement lobbying groups.
    Regardless, I’m grateful for an organization like NORML for getting this information out there. I’ll donate again soon. We need to keep the movement rolling. I’m in pain, and I’m sick of risking my freedom in this hick state.

  3. Dont mean to swear, but seeing an article like this makes my FUCKIN day. Holy shit its about time people see that marijuana isn’t deadly. I mean really, how many people die in car accidents related to alcohol okay??? We never see it from kids smoking weed and then driving, and if there is one, they were on other things, like hallucinogens or unprescripted pills. WOOHOO

  4. Web MD already has an article up on this study. They devote way too much space for the corporate stooge, Joel Hay. He uses the same old argument – more research is needed. Whatever – what plant has been studied more? He also pushes marinol – weed light. That stuff doesn’t work. I’ve had it. It’s big business trying to patent marijuana. He purposely ignores the part about vaporizing being safe.

  5. Hold your applause folks…You know as well as I do , Even if cannabis was proven to extend your life and have NO bad side effects,proven to be not dangerous at all, that our government,DEA,FBI,and all forms of religious nut wouldnt let this pass into the relm of legalization. The government needs their slaves for their private prisons, law enforcment and DEA need their property forfiture and seizure(not to mention the will lose jobs),the religious nuts need someone to flog and blame all sins on. We (pro-cannabis folks) are the redheaded stepchildern of society and these above groups must have someone to kick around.
    There are days I feel nothing will ever change the enslavements in this country or world that the mega rich and powers have over everyone of us til there is a total economic melt down and full on revolution. As scary as that may be , whats worse than realizing you are nothing but slaves to those powers.
    All doom and gloom aside I hope this study DOES make some difference. Ill bet the house on the opposition trashing this report.

  6. Kasado Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 5:05 am
    The government will claim that the cannabis was not from an authorized source, theirs.
    The study is redundent since they would never release their supplies to prove MJ as anything less than deadly poison and if they had, the quality is so poor as to give negative results anyway.

    [Paul Armentano responds: The marijuana supply used in the studies was from NIDA.]
    WOW ! guess I should have read the rest of the posts firsts! Thanks for that info Paul Armentano !
    I so very shocked that the NIDA would do that.

  7. I can’t even express how happy I am right now. Now we have more evidence to prove to people that Marijuana is a safe, and effective drug.
    Let’s just hope that these studies fall into the right hands, and that it will be covered in the media to some extent. Regardless, this is still solid evidence that will be very helpful to potential legalization in the entire country (medical, and hopefully recreational too).

  8. This is best thing that has happened in this movement lately. I imagine a world where you can go to a clinic and be prescribed the exact extract of cannabis from a hybrid strain the works extremely well for what ails you. Research of this kind will help pave the way for many more extremely important findings. We have yet to discover the full potential of this wonderful plant. Many thanks to the researchers and to our friends at norml for this “great day” making news.

  9. I am waiting for America to find out just how effective marijuana is for the multitude of medical applications that have not been put through testing yet. Before prohibition,there were over 150 medicines sold across the counter,with cannabis in them and I believe that we will see that again. Already sent copies of study to all legislators and bureaucrats to be sure they had access to the science,,,,especially Kerli.

  10. While I am sure that government will take notice, I think they will see it as yet another threat to keeping the current laws in place. I applaud the study but I know the battle is far from over. Look at the reaction to the AMA endorsement last year, they chose to simply ignore it and remain quiet. What we will see is another government study that refutes the findings. Sorry if I sound negative, it’s just that my faith in law enforcement is at an all time low.

  11. This is best news Ive heard all day! I want to print out a copy or two of this study and hand it out to a few people I know….maybe leave it on the coffee table for folks to read or maybe just sitting in a starbucks or hair salon.
    Get the word out!

  12. I’ve been looking around and there ia absolutly no mention of this on ANY news channel or newspaper.We need to get this news out there people, SPREAD THE WORD! I AM.

  13. I use marijuana daily, but one thing I invite everyone to think about is why do you want marijuana regulated? Why do you want the government to handle OUR buds? I say drop all criminal charges for cultivation and possession, but why do you want the government, who we all can agree on that we cannot trust.. to handle our marijuana? mull that over for a bit
    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML is very clear that any state/federal/local regulations re: cannabis should not impede personal, non-taxed, cultivation — just as non-commercial cultivation of tomatoes, or the non-commercial production of beer, is untaxed and unregulated now. Of course, the commercial production, distribution, and sale of these and other products is regulated so it is unrealistic to think that somehow cannabis would be treated differently.]

  14. 1. “Overall, investigators determined that marijuana’s most significant health risk was its association and reinforcement with tobacco smoking.” (a) In Europe and elsewhere cannabis is “traditionally” mixed together with tobackgo in a hot-burning “spliff” which destroys a high percentage of the THC, but meanwhile the niccotine enslaves the unwary victims, who were often following the suggestion of a dubious mentor.
    (b) In the US since the 90’s, “WRAP” stars with tobackgo-names like “Tupac” and “Cool” mentioned “blunts” in their songs, i.e. WRAPping cannabis in a cigar skin, while many youngsters didn’t know a cigar skin contains niccotine.
    (c) If every youngster is “toke-literate” i.e. knows how to use a longtube one-hitter (25-mg. serving size), hot-burning overdose half-gram joints and spliffs, and tobackgo mixing, will disappear.
    2. 47 Kander: good point about vaporizers being safer, meanwhile a safer smoking method also exists, can be made for pennies out of materials found in your neighborhood, see wikiHow.com.: “How to Make Smoke Pipes out of Everyday Objects” and related articles on sifting herb before use and how to make a screen to use in the crater.
    3. 62 Tomg: “MJ as preventative medicine”– good, but even better: MJ is a NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT which “prevents” illnesses by inspiring your body to learn how to fight them off. A medicine does something to you, but “Ask not what riefer will do to (for) you, but what you can do with it.” Example: tobackgo is a medicine which temporarily heals the illnesses caused by the previous $igarette. With MJ you are out to beat “illness” (actually ignorance– see Mrs. Eddy) and beat it for good.

  15. good know if the over paid and under worked people in the goverment would just legalize pot, so everyone who wants to smoke it can. the country would be better off. butt no, why?

  16. Ah! This surely is good news for a friday!
    Though I always knew that marijuana was safe, and I think the US govt knew since the early 70’s.
    Oh, and we shouldn’t be relying on the media to publish this. We should publish it ourselves

  17. How long will it take for the pharmaceutical companies to realize that they are bypassing a vast market,while trying to protect their already in place chemical poisons they sell now. As easy as it is too grow,most people will still pay for any substance already packaged and ready to go.
    They could be developing salves and elixirs
    made from organic,high quality marijuana and be marketing them across the counter,much as it was in 1937,before all this insanity started.
    Maybe the profit margin would be a little lower than for their chemical compounds,but the low number of liability insurance claims would make them even more profits,in the long run. And most of the research on marijuana has already been done,so lower costs on R&D
    would figure in.
    As soon as they remove marijuana from schedule 1,because it is a medicine,it removes control of the studies from NIDA and the DEA. It is only a matter of time before someone does the clinical testing to prove that marijuana is not only a safe and effective medicine,but a safe and effective recreational alternative “intoxicant” also.
    And when America finally gets the chance to try a marijuana only Saturday nite,and they get completely
    wasted and wake up Sunday morning,with no “hangover”,
    roiling stomach,headache or puking their guts out,
    most Americans will change their intoxicant of choice from alcohol too marijuana. Even the ones that don’t change over will understand that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol,without any fancy tests or years of study to figure it out.
    That would make a good “ad”. Show a drunk and a head awakening the morning after in a side by side video,including some of their actions getting wasted.

  18. The sad thing is, is that a year from now this study and all the talk surrounding it will be forgotten and it will lose its significance to our movement. I know this because why wouldn’t it? It’s certainly not the first study or the last of its kind. We’ll just continue to move in circles.

  19. Yet again a bunch of people taking a study out of context. This study does not prove anything on everything. This was a specific test with specific results. They did not identify the affects of this test on people’s real lives nor did they show whether it affected or impaired the ability for these people to continue working and to have real life relationships with real people in real situations. GET A CLUE people. Do not take this study out of context. There have been NUMEROUS other studies (double-blind, placebo) showing weed has more carcinogens than smoke, long-term and short-term constant weed intake severely impairs judgment and cognitive abilities. In a nutshell, pot makes you stupid. READ EVERYTHING not just what you want to read.
    [Paul Armentano responds: The studies in question used the gold standard trial design that the FDA uses to determine a drug’s safety and efficacy. Inhaled marijuana met this standard. Please do share your supposed ‘double blind’ studies regarding the supposed adverse health outcomes you speak of. You will discover that such trials use population-base control trial design, not double blind placebo control, and that your suppositions regarding the results are incorrect as well.]

  20. A girl who lived above a pot smoker (who just moved in) who had medical marijuana license. The apartments are not insulated. She had a severe reaction to the smoke, ended up in the hospital because the smoke was coming up through the floor boards. Yes they found it was because of the pot. Tell me that marijuana is good for you? It’s good for reducing pain and helping nervous reactions. The affects of the residual content of pot is the problem. Not the THC itself. If they made THC in a pill, I’d be all for it.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Synthetic THC is available in a pill by prescription and has been since 1986. The pill is known as dronabinol. However, numerous cannabinoids besides THC have been identified to hold therapeutic properties; see:
    http://www.cell.com/trends/pharmacological-sciences/abstract/S0165-6147(09)00128-X
    Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb
    Here we provide an overview of the recent pharmacological advances, novel mechanisms of action, and potential therapeutic applications of such non-psychotropic plant-derived cannabinoids. Special emphasis is given to cannabidiol, the possible applications of which have recently emerged in inflammation, diabetes, cancer, affective and neurodegenerative diseases.]

  21. Paul,
    This study states that it is looking into the affects of smoking and driving.. that’s the only mention of real life situations that this study seems to point out. I DO NOT dispute some of the analgesic and benefits it provides. My mom used it during cancer therapy. I’ve friends who smoke it all the time. They are not driven to do anything but that. The one friend who quit, went back to college and got his degree. I see real life situations here. Though it wold be cool to have it legalized in pill form, the smoke can and does get into multidwelling homes. What about the little girl the woman mentioned? Pill form, fine. BUT most people want the smoke version. That is where I draw the line in how it affects others. AND, NONE of the study here identifies how marijauna really affects people’s abilities at work. How they interact with others. And, the affects are residual. Most of the myth debunking compares it to alcohol. Stop it. It’s like saying its ok to be an alcoholic because it isn’t as bad as heroine. That is an addicts argument and makes your argument mute. Stick with the facts. Further, long term heavy usage, which I’m guessing a lot of the people who are stoked about this study are, there are numerous studies that the cognitive residual affect on short term memory for long term usage is affected. Even many of the cannibis websites say its true. They say “true but misleading because the affects is only under teh influence.” well, if you’re a long term smoker, you’re always under the influence. I can have one hit off a joint and be good for hours. Yes, I do it now and then and only when i don’t have anything pressing to do the Monday after the weekend.
    Let me be clear, I am not ANTI weed. I’m anti people taking studies out of context and applying it everywhere that they see fit. Take this study for what it is. There are way too many people who get those licenses and use it not for any other reason but to party with their friends. I know because I partied with one.
    As for citing sources, really? you want me to put all those links in here? Well, google “marijuana scientific studies” make sure you put in the results to return only the last couple years. You’ll find many. Use critical thinking skills here. If the study is on people who are no longer smoking pot, that is a study that is pointless. The ones that matter are the ones that are done on those currently smoking pot as that is the only true indicator of how it will affect long term users. I repeat, I’m all for pill form, what you do to your body is your business. Smoke form, it is not ok with me and probably not to the mom who’s little girl ended up in the hospital. Get a air filter that filters out .01 microns if you’re going to smoke pot in an apartment/condo. Be considerate is all I’m asking here.
    And, thank you for not filtering out comments like this. It’s always impressive when I see that someone is willing to include both sides.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Each of the studies cited by the CMCR (it’s not “a study” as you incorrectly claim, but 11 separate studies — at least seven of which each used the randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled crossover design) assessed inhaled marijuana as a medicine using the same trial design the FDA uses to approve drugs for safety and efficacy. Smoked marijuana passed this standard. I am not taking anything out of context here. Your other anecdotal issues are beyond the purview of the legal standard our society uses to determine the legality of medicines. They may be legitimate concerns, but they are not relevant to the question of whether marijuana meets the legally accepted regulatory standard of safety and efficacy. As for your supposed litany of placebo controlled double blind studies you claim to have affirming your concerns re; adverse effects, well, I’m still waiting.]

  22. Its great news yes… i hope one day the government will see passed its greed and legalize marijuana, but the fact still remains that government makes more money from the ban then it ever would if it was legal. Goddamn it i hate this country.

  23. I am always for more accurate studies on marijuana, however its not science that is holding back marijuana’s legality. Its dirty rotten politics and greed- studies are great for revealing it cannot alone be just the rhetoric prohibitionist have have spouting holds reform back.
    The majority of cannabis research around the world is funded by the US FED- its not scientific evidence we need, its tracing politicians to their source of money.
    For example Lamar Smith the man who so vocally said he will never allow this to pass the committe he heads which will allow this to be passed on to be voted on- took money in this cycle from:
    (according to http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2010&type=C&cid=N00001811&newMem=N&recs=100)
    $20,000 : National Beer Wholesalers Assn.
    $15,000 : Schering-Plough Corp (merged with MERCK)
    $11,000 : Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris)
    $10,500 : Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America
    $8,000 : Eli Lilly & Co (prozac + cancer drugs)
    $8,000 : Amgen Inc ( drugs for dealing/w chemo )
    $7,000 : National Community Pharmacists Assn
    $5,000 : GlaxoSmithKline
    $5,000 : Constellation Brands (Beer&Wine (B&W))
    $4,800 : Republic National Distributing (B&W).
    Now you see why he said he will not even consider letting this pass (before he heard any info)

  24. I am a “prohibitionist.” I absolutely cannot stand pot… and yes, I was a teen smoker. However, I have a brother with diabetes and a LOT of pain from a car accident, and a husband with extended nerve damage. I guess I am against the “medical marijuana” of today. Either FULLY legalize it and treat it like alcohol, or make it medical and treat it like medicine (i.e. prescription amounts, insurance PAYS for it, etc.) This in between stuff is annoying for every side. While small steps are being made for those who need it, those who abuse it are given the greatest benefit of the current system. Bravo to real research.

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