For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications 415-585-6404 or 202-215-4205

33 US Clinical Studies Show Marijuana's Medical Use, Journal of Opioid Management Article Says

Contrary to Opponents' Claims, Controlled Studies Have Repeatedly Demonstrated Safety, Efficacy

SEATTLE - In a landmark article in the Journal of Opioid Management,
University of Washington researcher Sunil Aggarwal and colleagues
document 33 U.S. controlled clinical trials published from 1971 to 2009
confirming that marijuana is a safe, effective medicine for specific
medical conditions.    

federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, defining it
as having high potential for abuse, unsafe for use even under medical
supervision, and lacking currently accepted medical uses in the U.S.
"In fact," Aggarwal and colleagues write, "nearly all of the 33
published controlled clinical trials conducted in the United States
have shown significant and measurable benefits in subjects receiving
the treatment."  Additionally, the paper documents the
growing acceptance of the therapeutic use of marijuana among organized
medicine groups and estimates that "in 2008, approximately 7,000
American physicians have made such authorizations for a total of
approximately 400,000 patients."

abuse and safety issues, Aggarwal et al. write that withdrawal symptoms
-- a classic symptom of drug dependence -- are notably absent from the
published trials, while "the vast majority of reported adverse events
were not serious ... It is clear that as an analgesic, cannabis is
extremely safe with minimal toxicity."

Unfortunately, the article continues, ignorance regarding marijuana
remains widespread in the medical community. "There remains a near
complete absence of education about cannabinoid medicine in any level
of medical training," Aggarwal writes.

"This is
arguably the most thorough review of the literature on medical
marijuana since the Institute of Medicine report over a decade ago,
with a trove of data that wasn't available to the IOM," said Rob
Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "It is
simply incomprehensible that a medicine that is so clearly safe and
effective remains banned from medical use by federal law and the laws
of 37 states."

article, "Medicinal Use of Cannabis in the United States: Historical
Perspectives, Current Trends, and Future Directions," is available at A complete list of the 33 U.S. clinical trials is available from Sunil Aggarwal at or 206-375-3785.


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