Many of studies suggest cannabinoids are effective in treating certain medical conditions are of low to moderate quality, according to the authors of the meta-analysis.
To date, 23 US states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for medical use, with seven other pending legislation states.
While the Administration Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved plant marijuana as a form of medicine, studies of active drug compounds, known as cannabinoids, have resulted in the approval of two drug – nabilone and dronabinol – containing delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main cannabinoid in marijuana.
Dronabinol and nabilone both are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy among individuals where other drugs have failed, while dronabinol is also used to treat weight loss and loss of appetite for people with HIV / AIDS.
Previous studies have suggested that cannabinoids may also help treat chronic pain, Tourette’s syndrome, sleep disorders and other medical conditions.
However, the team involved in this latest study – including Penny F. Whiting, PhD, of the University of Bristol in the UK – notes that, although marijuana is widely used for medical purposes in the US. UU. and other countries, the effectiveness of the drug in the treatment of certain medical conditions is unclear.
Low, moderate quality evidence of the effectiveness of cannabinoids for medical use
With this in mind, Whiting and colleagues conducted a review of 79 randomized clinical trials involving 6,462 participants to assess the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions.
While most studies indicate that cannabinoids may successfully treat the symptoms of certain medical conditions, the researchers found that many of these studies were not statistically significant.
Regarding the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of weight loss in HIV / AIDS patients, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, sleep disorders and Tourette’s syndrome, researchers found that there was evidence low quality that the compounds were effective, while there was no evidence of very poor quality supporting the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of anxiety.
The studies found no effect on psychosis using cannabinoids were of poor quality, the researchers found, and there was no evidence very low level that cannabinoids were ineffective against depression .
Whiting and his colleagues also evaluated the occurrence of adverse side effects associated with the use of cannabinoids, which were reported in 62 of the included studies.
They found the use of cannabinoids increases the risk of short-term adverse side effects. Dry mouth , dizziness, fatigue , nausea, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, confusion, loss of balance and hallucination were some of the most common adverse effects identified.
These results showed no significant differences depending on the type of cannabinoid used or how they were administered, according to researchers.
They point out that only two of the studies evaluated the efficacy of cannabis for medical purposes, but found no evidence that cannabis produces different results than other cannabinoids.
Based on their results, Whiting and colleagues say:
“robust Further large randomized clinical trials to confirm the effects of cannabinoids, particularly weight gain in patients with HIV / AIDS, depression, sleep disorders anxiety disorders, psychosis are required glaucoma , and Tourette syndrome.
new studies evaluating the cannabis itself because there is little evidence on the effects and adverse effects of cannabis “are also required.
In an editorial related to the study, Drs. Deepak Cyril and Mohini Ranganathan, of the School of Medicine at Yale in New Haven, CT, United States say that if states want to make marijuana widely available for medical purposes, then more rigorous research is required on the medical benefits of the drug .
“Since medical marijuana is not a life-saving intervention, it may be prudent to wait before use widely adopted until the high-quality evidence is available to guide the development of a streamlined approval process,” they add. “Maybe it’s time to put the horse before the cart.”
In July 2014, a feature that Spotlight Medical News Today looked at marijuana debate surrounding medical , which highlighted the concerns of some doctors about the lack of evidence reliable support the use of the drug for medical purposes.