It's now legal to use marijuana to treat certain medical conditions in 25 states, but the Food and Drug Administration has still not approved the marijuana plant as a treatment for any disease or health issue. That's because there haven't been enough large studies of the drug to show that its benefits outweigh the risks in patients who use it, said the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). And in order to gain approval, researchers also need show that marijuana is safer or more effective than existing treatments for certain conditions.
Nevertheless, scientists have good reason to think that the marijuana plant could be useful in treating a number of medical conditions. The active ingredient in marijuana,delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been shown to increases appetite and reduces nausea. Another chemical in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), may decrease pain and inflammation and help with muscle-control problems, according to NIDA. Both THC and CBD belong to a group of chemicals called cannabinoids.
Live Science has rounded up the promising evidence that medical marijuana may help people with certain conditions. Here's what we found:
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