Call for more research on cannabis

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 01 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:623
  1. Fred B Charatan
  1. Florida

    More research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is now warranted, delegates attending a National Institutes of Health meeting in Maryland heard.

    The scientific meeting was organised to consider the existing evidence about using cannabis as a treatment and to discuss the specific issues that would be raised if clinical trials were started. A final report on the meeting is due in about six weeks.

    Dr William Beaver, a professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University and chairman of the panel, said that some of the potential indications for using cannabis looked promising enough for new controlled studies to be recommended. He added that although no suggested uses of cannabis have been eliminated outright, the most promising potential of the drug was in controlling nausea in patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy, restoring appetite, reversing severe weight loss seen in patients with AIDS or some forms of cancer, and in treating glaucoma.


    Cannabis may be useful in treating patients with AIDS CATHERINE LEROY/SIPA/REX

    Demonstrators favouring less restricted medical use of cannabis and opposing the Clinton administration's policy (11 January, p 92) interrupted panel members several times and denounced the panel as a “stalling tactic” by the government to delay freer availability of cannabis.

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