National Academies: More and Better Cannabis Research Needed

However, they say, "some evidence suggests smoking marijuana may trigger a heart attack among individuals with diagnosed heart disease".

A committee of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine looked at more than 10,000 scientific abstracts to reach its almost 100 conclusions. Presently, the US Controlled Substances Act defines marijuana as a schedule I prohibited substance with "no now accepted medical use in treatment in the United States".

Levels of THC and CBD vary widely between strains of marijuana, and it will be hard to measure the impact of pot if researchers don't create standards for measuring exposure to those compounds, Wallace said. And, despite the drug's increasing popularity - a recent survey suggests about 22 million American adults have used the drug in the last month - conclusive evidence about its positive and negative medical effects is hard to come by, the researchers say.

In his State of the State address this week, Christie threw down his own gauntlet: he declared that combatting the heroin epidemic is the top priority of the past year of his tenure as NJ governor, reiterating his belief that marijuana is a gateway drug that can lead to heroin addiction and restating his opposition to the legalization of pot.

Currently, the state of Washington is the sole state that permits recreational cannabis and also doesn't allow home growing.

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"For years the landscape of marijuana use has been rapidly shifting as more and more states are legalizing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions and recreational use", said the committee's chair, Marie McCormick of Harvard University.

A new report from National Academy of Sciences, last January 12, 2016, states that current medical science has proven that there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana and cannabis-derived drugs. Therefore, the report adds that there is no justification or rationale for the current marijuana prohibition policy. The authors said the issue was outside the scope of the scientific review.

The review looked at more than 10,000 studies and reports about 100 finds. There's also "conclusive evidence" that cannabis is effective at preventing and treating nausea related to chemotherapy. Other foods have also been infused with THC or psychoactive components in marijuana. Among those claims were effectiveness of marijuana for epilepsy or schizophrenia.

According to the report, There is no or insufficient evidence linking marijuana use to all-cause mortality (death), deaths from overdose, or occupational accidents or injuries.

A farmer displays marijuana plants in California. The evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug to trying other drugs, including tobacco, "is limited", the researchers say. "The committee feels it's very important to develop the data so people know whether or not there's going to be benefit".

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"The overall tone of NAS report seems more favorable than ever before to the idea that cannabis is a medicine", Sisley said.

But it also showed a link between smoking marijuana and developing mental health issues such as schizophrenia and low birth weight in babies. " (Chelsea Green, 2013) and author of the book "The Citizen's Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws" (Whitman Press, 2015)".

Although the report did not find clinical evidence for every condition medical marijuana treatment is now used for, it states that for many conditions, including "chronic pain in adults...chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms", marijuana is an effective treatment.

Major findings of the review have been listed below.

One bright spot - the report said smoking pot doesn't increase the risk for cancers often associated with tobacco use, such as lung cancer.

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Cannabis use has an immediate effect on mental processes by impairing learning, memory, and attention.

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