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August 15, 2017

Report: The effects of medical marijuana to treat pain, PTSD are under researched

Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states and Washington, D.C., and is commonly prescribed for those with post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic pain. Despite this, very limited research is available that dives into the efficacy of medical marijuana for these symptoms.

In two new studies from the Veterans Health Administration and the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers delved into 27 previously published studies about medical marijuana usage, none of which offered conclusive information about whether the drug suits most types of pain.

In a second analysis assessing five other studies about cannabis use specifically for PTSD, there was again little to no data determining how much it does or doesn't help during treatment.

“The current studies highlight the real and urgent need for high-quality clinical trials in both of these areas,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center psychiatry researcher Dr. Sachin Patel told Reuters

Despite this lack of evidence, one study analyzed found a small decline in PTSD symptoms for patients treated with marijuana. Nonetheless, researchers fear lack of analysis on marijuana’s effect could expose increased risk for car crashes or cognitive impairments.

Earlier this year Dr. David Shulkin, secretary of Veterans Affairs, said in a statement that the helpful effects of marijuana treatment were something Veterans Affairs was interested in looking into further.

“But until the time that federal law changes, we are not able to able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful,” Shulkin said at the time.

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