[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 1, 1994

Medical Marijuana: A Trial of Science and Politics

JAMA. 1994;271(21):1645-1648. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450017007

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


IN THE WORLD of community-based clinical trials, one of the goals is evaluating commonly used treatments, regardless of whether they're prescribed by physicians. Among those with HIV infection in San Francisco's Community Consortium, one such therapy is marijuana.

For the past 2 years, Donald Abrams, MD, the consortium's chairman, has been trying to devise a trial to compare the efficacy of inhaled marijuana with dronabinol (Marinol, Roxane Laboratories Inc, Columbus, Ohio) as an appetite stimulant for patients with HIV wasting syndrome. Designing such a study to yield meaningful data is a trial in itself. Ushering it through a regulatory maze because it uses a schedule I controlled substance adds to the complexities.

"It's difficult," says Abrams, also a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. "If the science survives the politics, we'll be ready. But there are a lot of politics around this field. I want to

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview