Last updated on: 5/30/2008 | Author:

For Which Symptoms or Conditions Might Marijuana Provide Relief?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted the following symptoms or conditions under Appendix IV of their Nov. 2002 report titled “Descriptions of Allowable Conditions under State Medical Marijuana Laws”:

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease
  2. Anorexia
  3. AIDS
  4. Arthritis
  5. Cachexia
  6. Cancer
  7. Crohn’s Disease
  8. Epilepsy
  9. Glaucoma
  10. HIV
  11. Migraine
  12. Multiple Sclerosis
  13. Nausea
  14. Pain
  15. Spasticity
  16. Wasting Syndrome”
Nov. 2002

Lester Grinspoon, MD, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, wrote in a Mar. 1, 2007 editorial in the Boston Globe titled “Marijuana as Wonder Drug”:

“The mountain of accumulated anecdotal evidence that pointed the way to the present [marijuana as treatment for HIV neuropathic pain] and other clinical studies also strongly suggests there are a number of other devastating disorders and symptoms for which marijuana has been used for centuries; they deserve the same kind of careful, methodologically sound research.

While few such studies have so far been completed, all have lent weight to what medicine already knew but had largely forgotten or ignored: Marijuana is effective at relieving nausea and vomiting, spasticity, appetite loss, certain types of pain, and other debilitating symptoms. And it is extraordinarily safe — safer than most medicines prescribed every day. If marijuana were a new discovery rather than a well-known substance carrying cultural and political baggage, it would be hailed as a wonder drug.”

Mar. 1, 2007

Ethan Russo, MD, clinical neurologist, researcher and author, told in a Dec. 17, 2001 email that marijuana might provide relief for the following:

  • “Migraine,
  • neuropathic pain,
  • post-amputation pain,
  • neuropathy,
  • trigeminal neuralgia,
  • rheumatoid arthritis,
  • multiple sclerosis,
  • nausea of cancer chemotherapy,
  • AIDS wasting,
  • motion sickness,
  • menstrual cramps,
  • glaucoma, etc.”
Dec. 17, 2001

Tod H. Mikuriya, MD, a psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist, published on the internet on Feb. 21, 2001 his report titled “International Classification of Diseases 9 – CM 1996, Chronic Conditions Treated With Cannabis, Encountered Between 1990-2001.” (The ICD-9 numbers are the International Classification of Diseases used by all physicians.):

Click here to view full list.

Feb. 12, 2001

National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Regulation, IRP, noted on the NIMH website, updated Jan. 25, 2002:

“Electrophysiological, neurochemical, and behavioral studies have shown that cannabinoids (marijuana-like drugs) suppress pain neurotransmission…

We think that these results have implications for how cannabinoids may work in chronic pain states. A differential anatomical basis underlying cannabinoid and mu opioid modulation of primary afferent transmission is supported. Whereas mu opioid receptors in spinal cord are associated predominantly with thin-diameter primary afferents, cannabinoid receptors are localized to both thin and coarse diameter fibers.

These differences may provide a basis for the possibility that cannabinoids may relieve pain when traditional opiate drugs fail.”

Jan. 25, 2002

The UK’s Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation published on its website in Nov. 2001:

“Research to date suggests that research into the medicinal uses of cannabis and cannabinoids has the potential to make exciting breakthroughs in the management of severe symptoms such as pain, spasm, bladder dysfunction and nausea and could therefore bring a dramatic improvement in quality of life for people with:

AIDS wasting syndrome Glaucoma
Alzheimer’s disease Hypertension
Arthritis Multiple sclerosis
Asthma Nail Patella Syndrome
Brain injury/stroke Nausea w/chemotherapy
Crohn’s/colitis Pain
Depress./mental ill. Phantom limb pain
Eating disorders Migraine
Epilepsy Spinal cord injury
Fibromyalgia Tourette’s syndrome
Nov. 2001