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UC studies show marijuana has therapeutic value, reports to legislature

First results in United States in 20 years from clinical trials of smoked cannabis

Researchers from the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) have found "reasonable evidence that cannabis is a promising treatment" for some specific, pain-related medical conditions. Their findings, presented today to the California legislature and public, are included in a report available on the CMCR web site at

"We focused on illnesses where current medical treatment does not provide adequate relief or coverage of symptoms," explained CMCR director, Igor Grant, MD, Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine. "These findings provide a strong, science-based context in which policy makers and the public can begin discussing the place of cannabis in medical care."

Researchers have completed five scientific clinical trials, with more in progress. These studies showed that cannabis can be helpful in easing pain in selected syndromes caused by injury or diseases of the nervous system and possibly for painful muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis.

"These scientists created an unparalleled program of systematic research, focused on science-based answers rather than political or social beliefs," said Senator John Vasconcellos, original author of The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 1999 (SB847) which led to the creation of the CMCR.

Study results have been published in high-impact medical journals, garnering national and international attention which prompted leading experts to come together and foster scientific dialog on the possible uses of cannabis as a therapeutic agent. More study will be necessary to figure out the mechanisms of action and the full therapeutic potential of cannabinoid compounds, according to the UC researchers.

About The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research:

The CMCR was created in 2000 (through the passage of SB847) to conduct clinical and pre-clinical trials of cannabinoids, including smoked marijuana, to provide evidence, one way or the other, to answer the question "Does marijuana have therapeutic value?" The program's purpose is to oversee objective, high-quality, medical research that would enhance understanding of the efficacy and adverse effects of marijuana as a pharmacological agent. The project was never to be construed as encouraging or sanctioning the social or recreational use of marijuana.

Kim Edwards | EurekAlert!
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