Expert panel confirms pot’s medical benefits

Marijuana in pots
Marijuana plants grow in pots. (Photo via Flickr/Creative Commons/Brett Levin)

For years, drug experts have issued warnings about marijuana, but an authoritative report issued today acknowledges its potential benefits – and says one of the biggest risks is not knowing more about marijuana’s health effects.

The report, issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, says the scarcity of research is “a significant public health concern for vulnerable populations such as adolescents and pregnant women.”

Sixteen experts in public health and related fields spent months reviewing thousands of studies that have been done to date, and cited evidence that marijuana and its cannabinoid spin-offs can alleviate chronic pain in adults. Short-term use can help alleviate muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis, or the nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy.

On the flip side, the report confirms that driving and marijuana don’t mix, and that unintentional ingestion of the drug leads to overdoses in children.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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