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Medical Cannabis Benefits

TEDx speaker Dr.Casarett makes a case for a doctor's support for medical cannabis.

NBC News: Docters see benefits of medical cannabis treatments for seniors.

photograph of Dr. Mary McCormick
Dr. McCormick, chair of the NAS (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) committe, is a pediatrician with a second doctorate in health services research, with all of her post-graduate training at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Mary McCormick, Harvard Medical

Discussing the medical benefits of cannabis, Dr. Marie McCormick, chair of the NAS committee and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said that we need "far more information."

Some of the highlights of her committee's 337-page report on marijuana include:

Medical Benefits: Pain Relief

Regarding chronic pain, there's evidence that patients who are treated with cannabis or cannabinoids "are more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain symptoms," the researchers say. More particularly, for adults with muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis, there is "substantial evidence," they say, that short-term use of certain oral cannabinoids can improve symptoms. And for adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, "there is conclusive evidence" that certain oral cannabinoids are effective in preventing and treating those ailments.

McCormick says, many health questions remain to be answered by better research. The increased legal availability of cannabis products in many states, and their increased potency, she says, make that rigorous research more important than ever.

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Talk explores human beings' dynamic relationship with the cannabis plant and what recent developments might mean for our health and well-being. Zach Walsh is a clinical psychologist and substance use researcher who teaches at UBC.

There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving (and other) properties.